Seasons After Fall comes from developer Swing Swing Submarine, with a beautiful art style and immersive gameplay.
You start the game by controlling a glowing orb known as Little Seed who awakens and sent on a quest to find fragments of the different seasons from four guardians. You control a fox and venture through many different areas and face different challenges along the way. The gameplay is broken up with short cinematic cutscenes and narration, which helps add depth to the world and story.
As you journey through the different areas, which are vibrant and diverse, you have abilities that allow you to change the seasons to help your progress. You gain the ability to switch between the different fragments and therefore alter the season and world around you. Seasons After Fall is a 2D puzzle platformer, with simple controls that are easily accessible. You can move around, jump and there’s an interesting command called ‘bark’ which can be used to interact with animals and objects. What I love about this game is how it doesn’t hold your hand too much and allows you to freely discover things for yourself. Many games these days have lengthy tutorials that often feel heavy handed. You use the WASD and mouse controls to run through the world and the difficulty of the puzzles increases as the game goes on, but the game never felt difficult or offered much of a challenge.
The core gameplay focuses on the idea of seasons and using abilities you have gained to unlock new areas. The conditions for the various seasons can alter and manipulate the world around you, such as in the winter ponds freeze over allowing you to walk safely over. The game also has many puzzles elements throughout and they use the seasons mechanic to create some interesting challenges. You will find that you have to backtrack and the puzzles themselves never become too difficult.
You gain the four seasons and after that the game does start to run out of ideas and therefore feel a little bit stale. You start revisiting the same locations and unlock new areas, in a similar way to Metroid games. Unfortunately, the payoff isn’t as successful and ends up feeling tedious, which is a shame because the game mechanics feels unique. The game has no combat, which means its easy for kids to play but older gamers may find the gameplay to be a bit limited. The game has a fantastic story that feels engaging and the narration works wonderfully. I couldn’t help but compare the game to Ori and the Blind Forest, which is quite simply an outstanding game that oozes personality and has one of the most immersive worlds I have visited in a game in many years.
The presentation of Seasons After Fall is probably one of its strongest features, with a gorgeous hand painted style and vibrant colour palette. I loved how you could even see the brush strokes on the characters and I thought that the ethereal tone and atmosphere worked wonderfully. The different seasons all look great and help change up the style during gameplay. The music is also fantastic and uses a melodic soundtrack and sound effects to give a sense of wonder and mystery. The pacing of the music also changes to alleviate exciting moments. The combination of fantastic music and brilliant art direction has helped to create a world that feels genuinely interesting to explore and makes you want to push on a see what lies ahead.
Overall the game offers something unique and worthwhile despite having its downfalls. The seasons mechanic works well but the puzzles feel mundane and uninspired at times. The art style is the games main draw and at times looked beautiful. I would have liked to have seen a bit more depth to the gameplay but the story is engaging and has a decent pacing throughout. This is certainly a game that’s worth checking out if you like games such as Ori and the Blind Forest, just don’t expect the same level of polish and depth.
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