No, I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying – 7 Years from Now Review

Before Electronic Arts was simply known as the monolithic entity “EA,” one of their very first ad campaigns posed a simple question: “Can a computer make you cry?”  Their answer then was, basically, “well, dammit, the people who make our games are working on it,” and that answer is quite telling because the closest I ever came to crying over an EA game of that era was when one of my friends destroyed me in a heated game of Archon.
But here in the 21st century, games have evolved to the point where they most certainly can evoke emotional responses, and I can think of several off the top of my head that have made me get a little misty. There are even a couple (*ahem* definitely NOT Red Dead Redemption 2 and Firewatch…no, definitely not those two…) I would never play again just because I don’t feel like wiping the tears from my controller once again like an idiot.
That brings me to the wholesome, yet heartbreaking, tale of 7 Years from Now by publisher PQube and developer fumi. This title tells the tale of one Haruto Soraki – a 15-year-old high school student on a journey to reclaim his last seven years of memories which he somehow lost. Haruto (is he related to Naruto by any chance?) has nothing but a gentle reminder and a promise he made to go on so, at the outset, his quest seems quite daunting, but when he visits certain places and encounters familiar faces, the memories start flooding back into his addled brain.
[Editor’s note: Last week we held a contest where TapTap users could submit their choices for hidden gems they recommended to other users and TapTap editors. We had so many great recommendations that we couldn’t wait to check some of them out for ourselves. 7 Years from Now was recommended by TapTap users zMaximum and Vihn. Thanks to both of you for the suggestion, and look forward to more TapTap Explorer opportunities in the future!]
The game kicks off on March 29th, and the promise that Haruto made was to meet a girl on April 1st – seven years from now. That time has now passed, so he sets out on a mission to figure out if his mind is just playing tricks on him and to see if he can reclaim his lost past. By the 31st, he reunites with an old friend, remembers a few, scant details and somehow uncovers a baffling conspiracy at the local hospital. And then, after a blackout, he ends up back on March 29th once again.
7 Years from Now is one of those charming, 3D pixel art adventure games that heaps a lot more on its plot than you’d expect, and involves a good amount of reading. There isn’t a ton to do here, gameplay-wise, beyond follow the simple instructions given to you by the NPC’s then just do what they tell you to do or go where they tell you to go. There’s no epic quest to embark on or knock-down-drag-‘em-out battles to engage in here – it’s just this rather unpretentious concept of conversing with every single, Lego Duplo looking person you meet in order to regain an understanding of who you are and how the hell you got here.
The overarching story here is divided into bite-size chunks, so it’s fairly easy to pick up and complete a few chapters before putting it back down. 7 Years from Now, as a whole, has over forty chapters, so you aren’t going to blaze through it in one sitting either, and in such a narrative-driven concept, it would be a shame to condense it into just a few larger sections. I truly enjoyed the chapter-based element of this experience as I felt it was a more streamlined way to track my progress and, on top this, it was easier to digest and ruminate on the elements of the story you’ve just played through as the topics that crop up can get quite intense, so a break or two, here and there, isn’t a bad thing in any way.
At times, the five days you have to explore Haruto’s lost memories feel as though they fly by. Especially at the outset, where nothing is as it seems, and it is a rather perfect example of not taking what you have for granted…which is always a damn good thing to be reminded of. 7 Years from Now is a game that has you seeking assistance from those around you, and relying on truth and honesty to progress. I personally found this refreshing as there aren’t too many games out there that reinforce important life lessons that don’t hit you over the head, but rather are neatly and subtly woven into the narrative. It is my strong opinion that there needs to be more nuances in video game stories…as well as in TV and movies, but that’s an argument for another time.
7 Years from Now is an oddly charming, yet extremely melancholic journey with a licensed score that is filled with a combination of relaxing and breathtaking melodies. It’s an honest account of Haruto’s thoughts and feelings as he attempts to come to terms with his life and just how he got himself into this mess in the first place. It’s a frustrating, aggravating, and monotonous title at times (with the aforementioned walls of text), but it is most certainly elevated by its captivating and touching moments. You never know what curve ball is coming next in 7 Years from Now, but that's precisely what makes it an engrossing game that I recommend.
And I can’t say that I’m especially proud to admit I was brought to tears by this simple computer (well, mobile) game…but it definitely added a certain je ne sais quoi to this already memorable experience.
Love Is…in Small Things. Give 7 Years from Now a try if you also enjoyed Lunosoft’s emotional roller coaster of an interactive experience.
Shenmue. 7 Years from Now may not be an open-world, Dreamcast classic, but it touches on similar premises at times for sure.
💬 Have you played 7 Years from Now? Let us know what you think of it in the comments! Even if you haven't played it, leave a comment sharing your thoughts on video games that have “gotten in your head” and/or made you emotional!
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Elvira Lamar
Elvira Lamar
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