Review: Seasons After Fall (PS4/XBO)

Developed by: Swing Swing Submarine
Published by: Focus Home Interactive

Seasons After Fall
is the type of relaxing game I’ve been looking for. After a tiring semester of college, I’ve been looking for a real “chill” game to play. I’m a huge fan of simple, relaxing games, such as Flower, The Unfinished Swan, and Journey. Seasons After Fall immediately reminded me of the feeling those games gave me, and it drew me in with its colorful and calming setting. The hand-drawn cartoon style that Seasons After Fall goes for isn’t anything new, but there was something incredibly charming about the whole package. But as an experience, does Seasons After Fall succeed at providing something worthwhile, past its art direction?

Seasons After Fall is very reminiscent of a children’s storybook. You control a wild fox in a mysterious forest, which is guarded by four Guardians of the Seasons. These Guardians are gigantic animal spirits, each with their own ability to control an unique season. The fox must meet each of the four Guardians to gain their powers. With the power of the seasons in your grasps, the wild fox can discover the wonders of the mysterious forest. The story of Seasons After Fall is a cute story, fitting for a children’s book, with themes of fear and facing reality present. The story has a few small twists throughout the adventure, but mostly stays basic enough to fit that storybook theme. It’s a charming story that works well for a game meant to be relaxing and not too heavy on the mind.

Images provided by the publisher.

As a 2D puzzle-platformer, Seasons After Fall uses a clever, but not exactly original idea to manipulate the playing field. When I was describing the game to a fellow staff member, he immediately pointed out that this exact idea was done in one of my favorite franchises. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons also plays with the idea of using the power of the seasons to change the environment. Seasons After Fall is much more interesting, though, as it takes that concept to another level. Similar to Oracle of Seasons, the ability to change the seasons also changes the environments in the game. For example, changing the season to Winter will freeze any water, allowing the fox character to cross a river. You can also grow trees, mushroom platforms, and even control the amount of water in a pond by controlling the seasons. The seasons are your key to success in Seasons After Fall.

Changing the seasons is also the key to solving many of the game’s puzzles, which are never particularly difficult, but they will make you think just a bit. What makes Seasons After Fall so special, however, is how beautiful each season can be. The atmosphere completely changes with each season change, giving each section of the forest an array of different feelings. Seasons After Fall‘s beautiful art direction helps convey the different atmosphere that each season has.

Our main character, the wild fox, is controlled completely by the player. You can jump, run, and bark to progress through the game. The way the fox moves really makes you feel like you’re controlling a real fox. A fox can only jump so high or bark so loud, and a fox also moves differently from humans or other animals. It’s a unique feeling that I’ve never quite experienced in a 2D platformer before. The fox doesn’t have any powers outside of being able to change the seasons, so there isn’t much combat to discuss. Exploration and discovery is the main focus of Seasons After Fall. Seasons After Fall offers no real combat, with the exception of a few intense moments, but what it does offer is a relaxing experience with plenty of fun puzzles to solve.

You have to think like a fox to explore the mysteries of the forest.

A slightly disappointing component of Seasons After Fall is the lack of locations to explore. Your journey starts in The Sanctuary, which serves as the main hub. Connected to this hub are four different areas, each with their own main theme and Guardian. The beginning portion of Seasons After Fall provides an introduction to each area, while also granting the powers of each season to the player. After the introduction, however, the remainder of the game consists of almost just backtracking through the existing areas. New locations within these areas do open up, but they typically are not much different from their parent areas. Each location is beautiful and stunning enough to return to, but it does feel tiresome returning to the same places by the end of the game.

The beautiful art style of Seasons After Fall is complemented by a wonderful original soundtrack. The soundtrack is composed by a live string quartet, giving the world another magical touch. All of the music throughout reminds me of what you would expect in a Disney or Studio Ghibli movie, which adds to the overall charm of Seasons After Fall.

Seasons After Fall is a strong, relaxing puzzle-platformer that will warm your heart. If you’re looking for something calming to play, this is your game. Even if you’re just looking for something a little different and light on action, Seasons After Fall is a good pick. Despite the lack of variety at times, I recommend checking out Seasons After Fall if you have an appreciation for gorgeous art, music, and fun puzzle mechanics.

Final verdict: Buy It. Seasons After Fall is an incredibly relaxing experience, made possible by its beautiful art and music. Changing the seasons make for interesting puzzle opportunities, but the locations can get tiring at times. Seasons After Fall was played on PlayStation 4 for this review. Seasons After Fall is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

[Note: This product was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review]

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