Seasons After Fall Review
Seasons After Fall is a puzzle-platformer which has you play as the “seed”. The seed acts as a form of spirit, which allows you to possess animals, namely a fox. You must then navigate through various environments to obtain the fragments of the four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall from their respective guardians. Once all four fragments have been collected the ritual of the seasons can be performed, which is said to transform life itself. It definitely piques the interest of any platforming gamer out there when there’s ties to a supernatural world such as this, like Ori and the Blind Forest, but will it hold up the entertainment value?
Excellent signposting – Seasons After Fall excellently eases the player into the game’s mechanics from the beginning. When the player initially starts, the narrator walks the player through the many puzzle elements. They explain that changing the season can affect the environment and indicate the correct direction to head in to retrieve the fragments of the four seasons. As the player gathers all the fragments, and attains the power to freely switch between them, the narrator no longer guides the player. At this point the player has obtained the necessary experience to fully tackle the rest of the game on their own. This is a positive as many games, especially puzzle-platformers, tend to either have too much hand-holding or not enough direction. Swing Swing Submarine was able to create a balance between these extremes to offer the best experience for the player, giving them a sense of accomplishment when they are able to solve numerous puzzles without any outside help.
Hand-drawn art – Seasons After Fall’s art is the epitome of beauty. All of the environments are hand-drawn which invigorates the atmosphere and breathes life into the game. As you switch between the four seasons, the environment warps in retaliation. What was once abundant in plant life during Summer turns into a frozen wasteland in Winter as plants die, lakes freeze and snow/ice plasters the forest. It’s a refreshing feature that really captivates the player and makes them want to try different areas with all seasons for the fun of it. Every season manipulates the environment, not just for aesthetic feeling but for game-play purposes, as well.
Brilliant use of the season mechanic – The main method for completing the puzzles in Seasons After Fall is by manipulating areas using the seasons. You are able to effectively utilize each of the four seasons equally to solve puzzles with several of them requiring combinations to attain the correct pass. What must be mentioned is the use of general knowledge in regard to solving puzzles. For example, there may be times when you cannot traverse onto a ledge above you due to not being able to jump that high, but there is a geyser nearby which can be used as a stepping stone. If the season is set to winter, the geyser freezes and becomes a physical platform which can then be used to reach the higher ledge. The same is done with other situations as a plant may be withering but upon changing to summer the flower will bloom and act as a trampoline. The use of common sense to solve puzzles broadens the accessibility and makes the game suitable for all types of gamers.
Extremely short play time/High price – One of the main drawbacks of Seasons After Fall is the lack of content delivered. Although the experience is truly a good one, there is very little the game offers apart from the initial story mode and the various collectibles you’re tasked to locate. It can be completed within 4-6 hours of game-play which may disappoint those out there looking to get more out of a title priced at £15.99/$19.99.
Lack of replayability – The main driving force behind Seasons After Fall is the story and the challenge of the puzzles but upon completion there is no incentive to playthrough a second or third time. Once the game is done, any subsequent playthroughs may feel lackluster as the plot is known and there’s no alternative way to complete any of the puzzles as they have identical solutions to your prior playthroughs. There are many collectibles, however, such as Flowers (44) and Dreams (4) to gather which adds some value. Unfortunately, while the Dreams add content in the form of extra backstory and dialogue for the player to engross in, the Flowers are simply there to be collected for an achievement and contribute nothing to a gained feature of any kind. This may come off as disappointing due to the large number of them and the time the player will spend putting into finding them.
Too much walking – What may seem like a minor nit-pick is an insistent problem in Seasons After Fall. The game is based around a hub known as the “Sanctuary” which sits at the center of the world with the “Winter” and “Summer” regions located to the left of the Sanctuary, and “Spring” and “Fall” located to the right of it. Many times you will have to complete a puzzle in a certain region to unlock a form of progression in another season’s region. For example, by accessing an altar in the “Winter” region to drain a lake in the “Fall”, you will then have to walk all the way to the opposite side of the world map to access the next new location which becomes an exasperating chore and only adds padding to the already short title. After playing the game for a bit it’s easy to realize that a majority of the time is spent walking from one season’s region to another’s. Players will often complete the same puzzles over and over again to make a path to proceed as the puzzles reset when you leave the area. This eventually becomes a tedious and monotonous experience.
In conclusion, Seasons After Fall is an interesting take on the puzzle-platform genre with the utilization of an interesting season mechanic. The art and signposting hall types of players to enjoy the game and feel invested into the story. Unfortunately, the short amount of content and the lack of replayability hinder the overall experience, especially when considering the high price tag. The lack of providing incentives for collecting the Flowers is a missed opportunity as the extra backstory while collecting Dreams is a welcome addition in contrast. It’s recommended to wait for a discount to buy this game as most likely you’ll only play it once.
Seasons After Fall was developed by Swing Swing Submarine and published by Focus Home Interactive. It was released for Xbox One [reviewed] and PlayStation 4 on May 16th, 2017 and previously for PC on September 2nd, 2016. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. Many studios submit copies for site review but this is in no way factored into our review scores. Games are scored on their individual merits and our rating system is explained here.
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