We’ve gotten to really enjoy Annapurna Interactive as a publisher for their quality narrative-driven titles, and the end of 2022 they ported over Hindsight to consoles – a game that previously did well upon its PC release in the summer. We played the PlayStation 4 version.
Hindsight’s a game that’s not going to be for everyone – it doesn’t thrive on set pieces, elaborate puzzle mechanics or action, but rather on a very human and personal story about sorrow and grief – one that people who’ve experienced loss can easily relate to. In Hindsight, players follow a woman looking to accept the death of her mother as she goes through her belongings – running into memory after memory while doing so.
And although that very much seems like an “in the moment” kind of scenario, the story is bigger than that even though it’s structured around going room to room in the house. The things you come across take you back to both distant memories and recent events, exploring relationships and important developments.
As with many of Annapurna’s narrative-driven titles, the writing here is excellent, and brought to life through quality voiceover work. There’s obviously serious and solemn tone to much of it, but it’s told in an emotional and compassionate manner – with a musical score that often sets the right mood as well. There’s an artful and almost storybook-like feel to the visuals as well, though the low detail graphics mostly help to emphasize the story that’s being told by not being distracting – the most striking moments coming from some of the transitions between scenes.
Speaking of the modest visuals, you can tell that Hindsight was developed with compatibility with mobile platforms in mind. Besides a lack of cutting edge/next gen visuals, you can see this from the fact that Hindsight was designed for a touch screen interface – with little need for all those buttons and triggers you have on your gamepad of choice. Again, those would mainly serve as distractions from the story that’s front and center here.
But despite a lack of ‘traditional gameplay mechanics’ Hindsight isn’t devoid of gameplay – or perhaps ‘interactivity’ is a better word here. Although this won’t please everyone, the game – despite its strong emphasis on narrative – does a good job of keeping the player engaged through a diverse range of activities, which in some cases even involve controlling the flow of time. The narrative flow is more important here though, and the developers have streamlined the game so that in-game activities never result in you getting sidetracked. If you like emotional and impactful storytelling in games and don’t mind not being on the edge of your seat with sweaty palms, this is a great choice.