Seasons After Fall Review: The Winds of Change

May 15th, 2017 -

If you ask someone how they feel about Metroidvanias, chances are they either really like them, or they feel indifferent; it’s rare to find someone that actually dislikes games made in that style. They have elements that are undeniably fun, such as revisiting old areas with new powers to explore regions that were inaccesible, and of course, the ever endearing platforming. Take everything you know about the genre, but strip the combat and expansive maps, and you have an idea of what to expect from this.

pu140f6969d5213fd0ece03148e62e461e-1469114205-6670341-screenshot-original

When you start Seasons After Fall, everything seems a bit familiar. You’re guided by a voice that has no body, and intends on escaping its prison. Is this voice good or evil? Will you regret helping it or not? You don’t have a choice in the matter if you plan on playing the game, so you head off to meet the guardians of the seasons per the voice’s request.

The first third of this game almost feels like a tutorial, as you’ll be collecting the various seasons to use in a linear fashion. During this portion of the game, you’ll become familiar with the different obstacles in each area, and how they’re affected by the different seasons. As you meet with each guardian, they’ll create an orb that allows you to change the season. Once brought back to the sanctuary where your journey began as a fox, you’ll have that power fused with you. From here you will be able to change the seasons by holding a shoulder button and choosing the season from a wheel. After completing each season’s section, it’s blocked off until you collect all of them.

pu140f6969d5213fd0ece03148e62e461e-1459877984-8617762-screenshot-original

After this story beat, you’ll be tasked with figuring out just what is going on with the help of your newfound friend, which couldn’t come at a better time since you are newly abandoned. With all the seasons at your disposal, you’re equipped for the next portion of the game, although it doesn’t feel like that much of a departure from the first portion. To be fair, that’s not a bad thing. The first third, while simple, is fun for those that enjoy platforming. There are puzzles throughout, although none of them take long at all to figure out, even with the different environmental choices.

The game takes a lot of inspiration from other titles, be it story or gameplay. The choice of removing combat was risky, but takes the genre from a sometimes stressful endeavor to a much more relaxed experience. If you’re constantly playing things that are high stress, it’s nice to relax every now and then, and what better way to do so than with a genre so widely loved? And what’s wrong with a game that strays from things like combat? Almost every game is centered around beating the opposition in some regard, so it’s refreshing to see something that focuses on light puzzle action and platforming, all the while with a beautiful aesthetic.

pu140f6969d5213fd0ece03148e62e461e-1469114218-9902168-screenshot-original

This is a title that, when talked about, has the art style mentioned at least once. It’s a very serene look, appearing as if painted in Photoshop quickly without touchup, as you are able to discern many of the strokes still. The animation on some of the backgrounds also suggests this, as they seem to just be manipulated opposed to having new frames for them created. Of course, this isn’t true of everything, but merely within a single season it appears to be the case often. Because each season contains a completely different mood, color wise and weather wise, it’s no wonder they’d go this route, as creating the same environment with four distinct feels is quite the task. Fall allows for mushroom caps to be walked on, as well as gusty winds to propel leaves and other objects. Winter freezes water so you may run across it and use geysers as platforms. Summer will let you drain water that is too high, and spring brings the rain so you may grow trees and oppose summer. You will be tasked with combining the effects of each season to solve certain puzzles, but it’s never obtuse.

While all of this may sound like a good time, there are some parts that stuck out as problematic. Sadly, a couple of them go hand in hand. There are a couple of puzzles that require you to make symbols with fireflies. While the solutions are simple enough to find for the most part, creating those symbols can be a task with some of the jumps being inconsistent, which is a huge disappointment in a game so fixated on platforming. Additionally, these fireflies are supposed to be connected to one another. I ran into a few instances where the bond between them disconnected, and I had to leave the area and come back in order to fix it. Not game breaking by any means, but combine it with occasionally frustrating platforming in that section, and it does stick out as an issue.

pu140f6969d5213fd0ece03148e62e461e-1493744825-8311071-screenshot-original

Luckily, those issues are limited, and aside from the lack of direction near the end of the game causing some confusion due to the insistent handholding throughout the rest of the game, the overall world is rather small, so it doesn’t take too long to figure out. Even if you don’t feel like you need a game to relax with and let your mind rest from the stress of your daily life, I suggest picking this up. In addition to be pleasing on the eyes, the music is beautifully orchestrated, and the strings meld perfectly with the visuals. You’ll be surprised how nice it is to just wander through the changing seasons.

BUY

Pros

  • Music and Visuals
  • No Combat
  • Seasons

Cons

  • Minor Glitches
  • Inconsistent Jump Physics

Seasons After Fall was developed by Swing Swing Submarine and was published by Focus Home Interactive. The game launched on PC September 2nd, 2016 for $14.99, and launches on PS4 and X1 May 16th, 2017 for $19.99. The game was provided to us for review on PS4. If you’d like to see more of Seasons After Fall, check out the official site.

 

Here at FFoP we use a rating method that you may be unfamiliar with, so allow us to clarify. When we review a game, we see what sort of BRA fits. Buy, Rent, or Acquire is the rating we give out – we’ve boiled it down for simplicity. A Buy is worth the full retail value; a Rent is something you may want to try before you buy, or grab at a discount; an Acquire is something you can play, but we’d suggest borrowing it from someone, grabbing it in a game bundle, or some other means. If you want further clarification, please feel free to get in touch.

No comments yet

Name (required)
Email(required)