Skip to main content

Seek your memories in gorgeous free puzzler When The Past Was Around

(Image credit: Tom Sykes)

There's a touch of the Rusty Lake series to handsome, hand-drawn puzzle game When The Past Was Around, which similarly deposits you in a series of rooms that must be investigated, probed, basically clicked to high heaven until you've discovered their myriad secrets.

While it's only a demo, there are still a few rooms' worth of puzzles on offer, which should keep you busy for some time (say, the better part of a lunch hour). You play as a girl trying to recover her past, although as the game's wordless, and more than a bit vague, I only really know that from the description. It's a slightly fantastical, sweet and whimsical adventure set in a series of down-to-earth domestic locations, each full of fixtures or curios to open, and perhaps drums to bang to make a satisfying noise.

It really does remind me of Rusty Lake, in a very good way. Gone is the macabre atmosphere, but there's the same emphasis on tactile puzzle-solving, as you tear open boxes and disturb furniture to find puzzle pieces. You're accompanied on your quest by a big shadowy bloke who I guess is an owl-man? Solve the puzzles in each room and he'll transport you to the next, in this lovely, beautifully hand-drawn game.

For more great free experiences, check out our roundup of the best free PC games.