Title – Seasons After Fall
Version Tested – PC
Available On – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Linux, Mac OS
Developer – Swing Swing Submarine
Publisher – Focus Home Interactive
Genre – Platformer, Puzzle
Official Site – http://www.seasonsafterfall.com/
Release Date – September 2, 2016
Where to Buy – Steam
Seasons After Fall is a lot of things, many of them positive. It is relaxing, beautiful to look at (especially in screenshots), just challenging enough to test your skills, and short enough that it does not overstay its welcome. It falters in places, and it does not quite meet the standards of those top tier indie darlings like Ori and the Blind Forest or Braid, but it is a solid experience for the short while it lasts.
In Seasons After Fall, players take on the role of a seed that basically possesses a fox. The seed is on a quest to unite the four different seasons. Each time a season is unlocked, the player gains the ability to change between these four different seasons, with each altering the environment in order to solve puzzles and progress. For example, you may need to switch to spring in order to make it rain and raise the water level, then switch to winter in order to freeze that water and cross to a new area. The puzzles are never too taxing, and you cannot die in Seasons After Fall. It does make you think, but never for too long.
The most striking aspect of Seasons After Fall has to lie in the visuals. It looks like a painting come to life. The fox you control is adorable: it struggles to climb up ledges, wags its tail when at a standstill, and it has the cutest little bark. The guardians of the seasons dwarf you in size, and each is memorable in their own way. Finally, the way the background changes as you flip between seasons is extremely beautiful; I found myself stumbling across a particular screen and swapping back and forth between all four, just to see how it altered the background. Occasionally there are odd blips in the animation, but nothing too jarring stands out.
The easiest way to classify Seasons After Fall is as a “my first Metroidvania.” There are different areas around a central hub, and players will need to visit them as they unlock new abilities in order to reach new places within those areas. For the most part, the game does a good job directing you which way you need to be headed. However, this is not always the case. Especially towards the end, there is a lot of backtracking and unsure wandering: I found myself searching and researching for that one place that I had not been before in order to unlock the next thing I needed. It can get frustrating and tedious as you search for that place that you think you have not visited yet, only to discover, in fact, that you have.
This frustration manifests itself in different ways throughout the game. Since there are no powerups or enemies and the look of each area changes due to the season rather than the actual environment, it can be extremely difficult to keep track of where you are going and where you have been.
Seasons After Fall is a game to experience more than one to challenge. It is a puzzle game, but those puzzles rarely amount to more than a tiny bit of thinking before it is solved and time to move to the next. It is a platformer, but it does not have the precision jumps or crazy timing that will make your knuckles white. It instead is a fun little jaunt, a camping trip in the back yard, dancing with your grandmother at a wedding: you probably will enjoy it and be glad you did it. But you probably will not be talking in awe about it to your friends the next day.
Ultimately, Seasons After Fall is exactly what it sets out to be. It is a pretty, relaxing experience with some interesting ideas that hopefully makes its studio a decent amount of money. However, there are too many issues that ultimately amount to one word: frustration. Where do I go, why does it not quite look right, why am I back here again… I would recommend Seasons After Fall, and it is a nice experience. On the other hand, it does not amount to much more than that.
- Gameplay: Easy-going platformer with an interesting “season-changing” mechanic. Jumping is not as precise as it could be.
- Graphics: Extremely pretty; it looks like a painting come to life. Some strange animations.
- Sound: Music is solid. Voice acting is there, but nothing to write home about.
- Presentation: Not at all shy about what you are getting. Sometimes objectives could be clearer.
- Very pretty
- Makes you think, but will not punish you
- Adorable protagonist
- Not much challenge
- Finding objective can be difficult
- Some odd animation glitches