We Went Back is the second game from publisher Dead Thread Games and the first one they’ve developed themselves. It’s a combination walking simulator/hidden object/time loop/horror game. Or to sum it up – it’s PT. In space.
For those of you who have never heard of PT, it is a now-legendary demo that was quietly released for the Playstation 4 in which players had to make their way through a house that seemed to loop infinitely, with the surroundings changing and becoming more run down and horrific with each circuit. It turned out to be a teaser demo for a then-unannounced Silent Hill videogame. Sadly it was never made due to the studio’s messy divorce with game designer Hideo Kojima and the demo was removed from the Playstation Store. It didn’t end there though. PT‘s concept spawned an entirely new type of horror game, using this concept of looping time/environment. Layers of Fear is a good example of this, as is The Park. So how does this measure up?
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You awake from suspended animation to find yourself in some sort of scientific facility which, you quickly learn, is on the moon. There’s nobody else around but that’s okay, you just need to find out what’s going on. Oh. You reached the door to the end of the base without finding anyone, okay, through the door and let’s do another loop in case they’re all hiding planning a surprise birthday party or something.
But, hang on. Was that light always flickering? Were those weights always scattered about the floor like that? Were those walls always dripping blood and has that massive window out into the black abyss always had quite so many cracks and impact marks on it? So yes, the conceit here is that each time you complete a loop of the facility, the environment changes, things move and interact with you and you must hunt down clues to decipher the password that is keeping you trapped in this facility.
The puzzle element of the clues is a nice addition to what would otherwise be an entirely passive experience as the only things you can interact with are those that give you the clues needed to progress. The problem is that while most of them are easy enough to find, the second to last clue is INFURIATINGLY obtuse. My brisk 35 minute runtime was probably padded by a good 5-10 minutes in my going round again and again trying to find the clue.
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And yes, I did indeed say thirty five minutes. This is a short game, almost a tech demo of sorts, but then it is also free so it’s difficult to really complain about the runtime when it costs you exactly nothing bar some hard drive space and some clicks of your mouse to download.
It’s a quick, fun little experience with some nice atmosphere and a couple of decent jumpscares, slightly marred by an enemy that is, well, not great. The first time I saw it my reaction was a bemused laugh rather than anything else. But you know what? It’s their first game, it’s free, and it lays the foundations of an interesting story that will leave you wondering just what happened before you wake up in that pod. Good job, Dead Thread Games.
We Went Back is available on Steam from Dead Thread Games.