Hindsight Review: Hard to forget

Hindsight is a narrative adventure from Team Hindsight and Annapurna Interactive. It follows Mary as she looks back on her life and sifts through memories, particularly those with her mother. It reminded me a lot of A Memoir Blue, also published by Annapurna Interactive, which covered very similar themes. In our review, we’ll see if it’s worth making this journey.

history and writing

Hindsight is almost entirely a narrative title, and that’s mostly its main attraction. You follow Mary as she progresses through memories from her birth to her current location. During the game, she explores key moments in her life that have shaped her. A lot has to do with her difficult relationship with her mother. The self-reflection and deeper perspective gives her an opportunity to understand why her mother was the way she was and what moments played a role in the distance that developed between them.

Mary arrives at her parents' house after receiving unfortunate news
dialogue afterwards

Their journey is portrayed in a non-linear way, and while it’s not obvious why they took that approach at the beginning, it pays off when it all ends. This isn’t exactly a complex story, but it’s told with a lot of honesty and vulnerability. While the father is a crucial part of the story, most of it is addressed to the mother. The narrator comments on many of the scenes that you will see and while he starts off letting you see things for yourself, the more traumatic and emotional parts are continually commented on for added impact.

Screenshot of Hindsight showing one of the locations
Varied environments for storytelling

This is the strongest part of the game, and it honestly contributes to a deeply personal story that we can relate to. Awkward silences, awkward conversations, unanswered guilt, anger, the frustration we share with our parents, and dealing with trauma that affects more than yourself. It’s a human story that makes you feel uncomfortable, but you have to see encounters from your own childhood and youth in a different light.

playing style

Despite some standout stories, I was largely at odds with the gameplay. Hindsight lets you review past memories, which are mostly still scenes where you can rotate the camera. You will arrange other scenes into objects to travel to them and advance the story.

Gameplay in a Memoir Blue is largely based around moving from one scene to the next with minimal gameplay
Paint to reveal another scene

The gameplay is barely there, and when it tries to increase interaction, it mostly results in frustration. There were several times I was lost as I needed to advance the scene. Even though an object was glowing, interacting with it didn’t do anything, making me think I needed to interact with something else first. That would be fine, but in certain cases other objects were so dimly lit that it became a bit difficult to discern what was interactive.

Players rotate the camera around objects
Object to rotate to go to the next scene

The camera felt shaky at times, especially given its rotating nature. Even though I was playing with a mouse, stringing some scenes together presented an unnecessary challenge. For a game so focused on progressing the story, those moments of frustration didn’t help the pace.

While it’s mostly functional, and I’ve only gotten stuck a couple of times, it’s certainly the weaker aspect.

presentation

Hindsight uses flat colors and 3D models to create a variety of scenes. When everything works, there are some incredible views and transitions that will stick with you and justify this style. It’s a bit uneven at times though, the flat color scheme can make for a dull composition when there aren’t many elements in a scene.

The presentation is somewhat inconsistent in Hindsight
One of the best scenes in Hindsight with excellent presentation

The narrative is solid throughout and certainly doesn’t come across as stoic in key scenes. Dark and bittersweet music compliments the game’s tone, appropriately elevating in more emotional moments.

Verdict

Hindsight tells a deeply personal story and examines the relationship between a woman and her mother with brutal honesty. The strong storytelling is marred by bland gameplay and uneven presentation, but feels well executed for the most part. It’s definitely worth going through, and the level of self-reflection serves as one of the better narrative-driven games out there.

Flashback screenshot with the main character
Review screenshot

While you’re here, be sure to check out our reviews of other Annapurna Interactive titles including A Memoir Blur, Solar Ash and An Artful Escape.

Hindsight comes to personal computer above steam, Nintendo switchand iOS on August 4, 2022.

What do you think of our Hindsight Review? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

This review is based on the PC version of Hindsight. The key was provided by Annapurna Interactive

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