Seasons After Fall is a basic puzzle game with a visually striking presentation that is held back by its’ simplicity in game mechanics.
Seasons After Fall is a unique puzzle game that offers a striking visual art style. Combined with a fantastic musical presentation that will win over gamers at a first glance. The puzzle aspect of the game is not one of vast difficulty. If you were hoping for something like Ori and the blind Forest because of the art style, this is not the game for you. The experience is one more of submersion into the world while slowly bringing the forest back to life.
You play as a little Red Fox trying to awaken the spirits of the forest. Each spirit is associated with a season. The player can use the abilities of the spirits to manipulate the seasons at the click of a button to solve puzzles in the world. Need to get over this river? Simply change to the winter season and freeze the water so you can traverse. Need some plant life to grow? Use the Spring season to make it rain and watch the plants grow to create a platform. There is a mix of platforming with the puzzle solving, but there isn’t any real combat or much else in terms of game play. It’s a very basic concept which brings along both the good and bad aspects of simplicity of game design.
Simplicity isn’t a bad thing in gaming, but the mechanics need to be engaging enough that you keep the player entertained. If Seasons After Fall was a long game, it would not be a fun experience. Luckily its’ short play time of around 5 hours is just long enough to keep you engaged. Without overstaying it’s welcome as well. The style of Seasons After Fall is what it is all about. The game has style and it wears that right on its sleeve, but the issue becomes in the simplicity.
Again, simplicity isn’t bad thing, but in this case it doesn’t help Seasons After Fall. Design wise there isn’t a lot to retain the player if you are a veteran puzzle player. The puzzles are not mind bending in any way. Even towards the second half of the game once you have all of the seasons “unlocked.” I never once was stuck on a puzzle for more than a minute or so. Which is once again somewhere in the middle in terms of enjoyment. I don’t want to be stuck for long its frustrating. But I also don’t want to just walk through the game with such ease.
On paper it’s very simple and in practice it is not very difficult, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When you combine the visual art style with the superb soundtrack of Seasons After Fall, you getting experience that is almost poetic. That is where the game hit its’s stride. When everything clicks together with the music and game play, it is indeed poetic. Issue is I never had that feeling more than a few times during the story. It can’t be said enough that the high moments are very high indeed though.
The last area that needs to be discussed is performance for Seasons After Fall. I was playing on the Xbox One so I cant comment on the PC or PS4 version, but the Xbox One version definitely has some frame rate issues. The problem is I can’t tell if the game is actually dropping frames or if there is just a massive frame pacing issues. I’m going to lean towards the latter because it was an issues that I didn’t always notice. At times it felt like things were stuttering but gameplay never felt like the controls were compromised. Not a deal breaker by any means, but it was definitely noticeable.
Seasons After Fall is a title that I enjoyed but didn’t love. It’s obvious the presentation is supposed to be at the forefront of the experience, and while the world is very good everything else is only decent. The puzzles are far too easy and fails to keep the player engaged throughout adventure. Seasons After Fall is worth a playthrough on an afternoon, but it isn’t something you will remember for long.