Seasons after Fall Review

By Cindy Minguez,
Seasons after Fall, a new platformer from Swing Swing Submarine and Focus Home interactive, debuted on Xbox One this week. The meeting of a little seed and a friendly fox begins a journey that leads the player deeper and deeper into a lonely forest and the mysteries hidden there. Will platforming fans be pleased with this new offering? Yes, yes they will.

The first GuardianThe first Guardian

You are a seed — "Little Seed" specifically. You rise from deep within the earth, answering a call to "The Sanctuary." A pleasant voice sends you on a mission to collect fragments from each of the great Guardians of the Seasons. You take over the body of a passing fox and head out. The kind voice needs the fragments to perform "The Ritual." Everything seems so lovely and gentle, yet who is this voice? What does she want? What is The Ritual? And why are all the Guardians asleep?

Thus begins your journey and it is a beautiful one. The game has lovely hand-drawn artwork and backgrounds accompanied by wonderful stringed music. The aching tones of violins follow you through the forest as you fulfill the voice's requests. The voices, too, are beautifully done. Then something goes terribly wrong, leaving you with even more questions than you had before. The voice abandons you but you're not alone. You have the power of the seasons.

The colors of fallThe colors of fall

From the four Guardians, you have the power of the seasons and manipulating them is the core mechanic of the game. The game is a puzzle platformer, and knowing which season to call to move through a certain obstacle quickly becomes second nature. Winter lets you freeze a water spout so that you can jump to a ledge above, or you can herd a water-soaked sponge to an obstacle then freeze it, causing it to shatter, taking the barrier with it. Spring is a time of rain. You can release extra water from giant plants to raise the water level of a pond then freeze it to reach a place previously inaccessible. Summer is a time of sun and growth. You can call summer to unfurl a long sprout, creating a bridge, or you can summon the winds of fall and float upward on a fallen feather.

Figuring out how to progress is where the fun comes in. When in doubt, one simply has to try a new season to see how the surrounding environs react and perhaps "speak" to your target. Pressing the X button with the fox will have him yip, which is sometimes necessary to trigger a response. Switching between different seasons/abilities keeps the puzzles interesting for the greatest part of the game, but there are a couple of places where one can end up going around in circles while trying to figure out how to proceed. It's possible to get stuck and end up going around and around as you try to figure out where you're supposed to be. That's really the only negative in the game.

Your friend, the foxYour friend, the fox

The game does a very nice job of mixing puzzle and platformer, but the platforming takes a backseat to the puzzles. No crazy jumping skills are required to get from one point to another; you simply have to figure out how to bridge the gap with one of your abilities. The game also does well unfolding the story. As you meet different objectives, you learn new information through flashbacks that begin to answer all those questions with which you began. The story isn't a cut-and-dried tale that puts you to sleep; there's enough personality in the title that you really want to know what's happening, and the truth is given to you bit by bit in such a way that it keeps you wondering through the entirety of the game. There's a good balance between unhurried and urgent, peacefulness and worry.

Finally are the achievements and Seasons after Fall does a nice job here, as well. Most of the achievements will be picked up as part of the game's natural progression with achievements for unlocking frescoes for each of the seasons, finding the hidden location in each area, unlocking the altar of each season, etc. Two that don't fall into this category are one that requires you to find a hidden bird and listen to it sing and a collectible achievement for making all the flowers in the game bloom. Flower icons appear under the name of each area; if all four are lit, you have all the flowers in that section. The game also has achievements for two different endings. All in all, the list is not difficult with the possible exception of finding all the flowers, making it a relatively easy completion.

Summary

Seasons after Fall is a beautiful puzzle platformer with gorgeous artwork and music, well-voiced appealing characters, and a captivating story. Journey through the forest unlocking the abilities of the seasons then use them to travel deeper into the woods and into the story. Unravel the mysteries surrounding The Ritual, the Seed, and the Guardians as you freeze, flood, thaw, and grow your way through the puzzles standing in your way. The achievements are primarily story related with a collectible thrown in for fun. The game is a fun, pretty experience with only occasional frustration resulting from finding oneself running around in circles. Seasons after Fall is a rare treat that shouldn't be missed.
4 / 5
Seasons After Fall
Positives
  • Gorgeous artwork
  • Beautiful music and voice acting
  • Fun game mechanic
Negatives
  • Can go around in circles
Ethics
The reviewer spent almost 10 hours manipulating the seasons, earning all 21 of the game's 21 achievements along the way. An Xbox One code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Cindy Minguez
Written by Cindy Minguez
Cindy has been writing for TA/TT for three years now and is the Assistant Manager of the Newshounds at TrueTrophies. She's an English instructor at a small college and considered a remarkably cool teacher for knowing all about Mass Effect, Skyrim, and Diablo III.
Posts on this article have been added to a thread in the Editorials and Features Forum.
  • True MarvellousTrue Marvellous2,309,652
    Posted on 20 May 17 at 12:24Permalink
    Some things the review doesn't mention, its a real short game about 4 - 5 hours top.

    Also the puzzles lack variety once you know problem x is solved by season y thats applied every time you encounter that scenario theres no real puzzle evolution.

    I was a bit harsher on the game due to its short run time vs cost (especially since they are charging more than steam) and the repetitive nature of the puzzles and gave it a 3/5. Stylistically though this games second to none the art lovingly drawn, the haunting music and the voice acting are all superb.

    Not sure on the going in circles negative, the games pretty much A to B and has a very tiny game world with good direction from the voice and guardians.

    Solid review though.
    Check out True Tube for all the latest Xbox One Indie Games Reviews https://www.youtube.com/user/TrueMarvellous
  • AllgorhythmAllgorhythm257,137
    Posted on 20 May 17 at 12:28Permalink
    Thanks. After reading the review, I went ahead and bought the game. Looks like a real cool puzzle-platformer.
  • LifeExpectancyLifeExpectancy1,241,368
    Posted on 20 May 17 at 18:08Permalink
    Looks cool, maybe once its on sale. Nothing tops Ori though. ;)
  • Posted on 21 May 17 at 21:54Permalink
    I'd rather play as the green-eyed bear with the owl face.
  • Posted on 22 May 17 at 09:22Permalink
    Reminds me of Storm, which I enjoyed immensely...interested in this one!
    Legohead 1977
  • Posted on 24 May 17 at 01:57, Edited on 24 May 17 at 01:58 by Leo AscendentPermalink
    Vaguely reminds me of Dust: An Elysian Tail
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