Replay Value: 4
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Swing Swing Submarine
Number Of Players: 1
Seasons After Fall is a mix of art and gaming. Leaning more towards art. The gameplay is fairly simplistic in that you won’t find many platforming or puzzles that are going to give you a hard challenge, even though it is considered a puzzle platformer. But I don’t think that’s the point of this game. What this game does very well is more artsy then game-y. It’s a beautiful and relaxing piece of art. It’s like some artists decided to make a game instead of game makers making a piece of art. And as long as you go in with that mindset some of the minor setbacks won’t bother you at all.
I feel pretty, oh so pretty
We might as well start with the best part of Seasons After Fall and that is the artstyle. It has a handpainted look to it that is both charming and visually pleasing. Animations are pretty and cute, especially the fox. One of my favorite animations was watching the fox slide to stop on the ice. It’s entirely too adorable.
The environment is full of color and shows a neat effect with the depth of the background. The forest feels like an enchanted forest, alive but empty all at the same time. Although there are some parts of the map that look similar and make it easy to get lost at times. But it’s still pretty so what the heck.
The artsy style is accompanied by a set of strings that really enhances the fantastical nature of the forest and the story within. It’s really well orchestrated and is a definite compliment to the game. It sets the mood very well from a nice steady, almost frantic tone as you run through the forest to a more somber and almost chilling score in later parts of the game. I could see listening to this soundtrack outside of the game. It’s very relaxing and engaging.
You sound dreamy!
The sound design is pretty good too. Sounds of the forest and the fox itself sound just like they should and are even charming. The yip of the fox is especially cute. The voice acting is actually really good. All the voices have a nice sound to them and are well acted.
Underneath it all
The gameplay in Seasons After Fall seems to take a back seat to the art style. That’s not to say that it’s horrible by any means. It’s just very simple. And part of me thinks this may have been intentional. This game is more of a relaxing experience then a challenging game. Platforming is pretty straightforward as well as navigating as the fox. The only issue I came across was when I tried to jump right after turning around. More often then not my jump would fall short. I guess mister fox needs a small (it’s pretty small) running start to get going.
There are no enemies in this game. You aren’t going to die either. Which all plays into the relaxing nature of the game. If you’re expecting your typical platformer with enemies and the like, you’ll find yourself a little disappointed. It’s very standard platforming and in this case, that’s alright.
The puzzles are similar to the platforming. You definitely won’t be running to google to figure things out. Which could be a good or bad thing depending on what you want. I was personally okay with it as it kept me in the mood of the game and that kept me interested Instead of getting flustered at something I had a hard time with I was enjoying the music and artstyle. I think it will really just come down to personal taste. I for one enjoyed the simplicity in the gameplay.
Making your way through the map is actually more akin to a metroidvania style of game. There are certain areas of the game that you can’t access until you learn new skills. Which in this case is the ability to change the seasons at will. This mechanic is the central mechanic of the game.
What seasons is it?
As the fox you gain the ability to change between the four seasons at will fairly early in the game. It’s this ability that you use to solve puzzles and gain access to new areas. This is another area where the animation and artstyle shine. Each season has a different look and color palette. And watching the seasons change is very satisfying to watch even after doing it a hundred times.
The seasons also effect the environment directly. Winter freezes water so you can walk on it and freezes water spouts to create new platforms for yourself. Spring can help grow new plants that allow access to other areas. Fall sprouts mushrooms to make platforms and blows wind in certain sections. Spring adds rain and extra water to certain parts. Like I said, the seasons changing mechanic is very much central to the gameplay and it’s done pretty well even if it can be pretty simple.
So, is there a point to all this?
The story itself is pretty gentle and laid back, basically like the rest of the game. You start out as a seed making it’s way out of a plant of some sort. As you emerge you hear a disembodied voice who starts this whole adventure by guiding you to find the four guardians. After you come out you possess the body of a fox and the fun begins. You begin the game searching for guardians of the forest, which are all interesting and representative of each season. As you visit each one you gain the ability to control each season. After that the story shifts and unveils some interesting bits. Then you’ll revisit some of the previous areas and discover new places.
I think your enjoyment of Seasons After Fall is going to depend on your expectations. If you go in expecting a lot you might find yourself disappointed. The gameplay is very simple and once you beat the game, there isn’t a very many reasons to come back to it unless you really enjoy playing it.
But if you keep in mind that it’s more of an experience then you’ll enjoy it. Racing around as a fox is really fun and while the game part of it can be a bit dull, the game more then makes up for that with a very beautiful hand painted forest and its few, but interesting, inhabitants accompanied by an excellent score. Like I mentioned before, it’s more like artists decided to create a game then game makers creating art. All in all definitely worth at least one playthrough.
The Good - Very beautiful and has a great soundtrack. Very charming
The Bad - Gamplay is pretty simplistic. There isn’t much of a challenge here. You can get lost easily sometimes.
The Ugly - Ugly? Where is the ugly? Psshh! I guess if you don’t like this kind of thing, well…