Seasons After Fall is a platformer adventure game that greets players with its beautiful art style and challenges them with complex puzzles. The beauty and challenge of the game should be the perfect formula to captivate players, but instead it falls a bit flat.
Created by indie studio Swing Swing Submarine, Seasons After Fall explores magic and nature through a colourful 2D environment. Taking place in an enchanted forest that comes to life when players take control of a seed, which embodies a fox, and is guided by a voice. The main objective is to find the four Guardians of the seasons to retrieve their powers and save the forest. Along the journey players control the powers of each of the seasons as they progress; Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Spring raises water levels, Summer causes plants to grow, Fall lets you grow mushrooms and Winter freezes water and creates snow piles. Although the story seems simplistic the studio adds a twist in an attempt to add depth.
The beautiful art style attracts players visually to the world of Seasons After Fall. The graphics are illustrated through hand-painted graphics that bring each brush stroke to life on the screen. Using a 2D background in combination with the art style really emphasizes uniqueness of the game. Another visual element that enhances the game is the use of colour, specifically with each season. When the fox acquires a new Guardians’ power players can change seasons using the right analog stick or R1, at any given time. The change in the seasons manipulates the forest’s look and reveals new possibilities. Spring and Summer highlights the bright colours of the blooming flowers, Fall uses brown and orange tones; and Winter has a blue to highlight the cold environment. Since players spend most of their time back tracking in the same sections of the forest the colour variation works well to renew these areas.
A great accompaniment to the visuals is the instrumental music that is performed by a string quartet. Mimicking the use of colour for each season, the soundtrack reflects the mood of each season. For example, Spring is more upbeat than the other seasons and has higher pitches, similar to sounds of birds chirping. The combination of sound and visuals makes this game special; but unfortunately that it isn’t enough to captivate gamers.
This is probably attributed to the fact that throughout most of the game you are exploring the same environments over and over again. To succeed at this game you have to revisit, re-explore and remember the areas that you couldn’t explore before. Now usually this isn’t an issue however because each areas of the game look very similar, aside from when you’re manipulating the seasons, it makes it very complicated to know where you’re supposed to go next. When you’re playing this game you will get lost time and time again, and there isn’t much guidance, so you will be running around for quite some time and it’s frustrating. It also pushes you away from the game and will most likely lose interest because of the repetition of the look of the environments.
Now although the music is wonderful you do only hear it sporadically, you don’t hear it throughout exploring this world. It seems that the developers used the silence in between soundtracks to mirror the forest serene forest, but for the game it doesn‘t work well. When trying to find your way or retrace your tracks, the silence builds on your frustration and further disconnects you from the story. However if the soundtrack continued throughout frustrating parts of retracing your steps it could have eased the feeling of repetition.
Despite Seasons After Fall simplistic story, overall this game is beautiful with its eclectic visuals and instrumental music that sometimes accompanies it. It will catch your attention from the start and make you want to dive deep into the game. The puzzles will peak your interest but the repetitive exploration of the same environments and lack of background music will deter you from spending more time with the game.