Archives by Day

December 2021

Seasons After Fall

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Swing Swing Submarine
Release Date: Sept. 2, 2016

About Brian Dumlao

After spending several years doing QA for games, I took the next logical step: critiquing them. Even though the Xbox One is my preferred weapon of choice, I'll play and review just about any game from any genre on any system.


As an Amazon Associate, we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

PC Review - 'Seasons After Fall'

by Brian Dumlao on Oct. 12, 2016 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Seasons After Fall is a game about adventure and exploration set in a two-dimensional fantasy world, where magical abilities allow you to manipulate the four seasons in order to progress.

Buy Seasons After Fall

The resurgence of 2-D is producing some truly beautiful-looking titles. You come to expect this from big studios that have produced the likes of Rayman Origins and Child of Light, but the indie developers have shown that they also have the chops to produce something jaw-dropping in this regard. Despite being a few years old, Dust: An Elysian Tail and Ori and the Blind Forest are just as beautiful now as they were when they were first released. You get that same feeling when you see a title like Seasons After Fall, and while it looks gorgeous, it is comforting to know that there's a solid game behind the amazing appearance.

You play the role of a newly birthed Seed, a spirit that's linked to nature. You emerge from your world into a forest where another Seed asks for your help. It seems as if there is something amiss in the forest, and this Seed is asking for your help to set things right again. To do so, you need to get the fragments of all four seasons from the forest guardians. However, being a Seed means that moving around the world is going to be rather difficult. Enter a curious little fox that saw the ruckus caused by your birth. After forming a fast friendship, the both of you work together to make things right in the forest once more.

As mentioned earlier, the graphics are gorgeous. In stills, it looks like a well done painting where you can make out each of the individual brush strokes while admiring the use of color in both foreground and background elements. In motion, that same painted look comes to life with some brilliant animation and effects that fit perfectly with the environment. You're not going to get extremely seamless transitions, mind you, but the art style and general smoothness of the animations are enough to forgive the few skips here and there.

Likewise, the sound complements the look very nicely. It goes for an orchestral sound that is more calming than epic, but it still fits wonderfully with every situation. Despite the seemingly big task ahead of the Seed and the fox, this approach makes the adventure seem smaller, which works well since so many other games are going for the opposite feel. Effects are pretty minimal, but that is supplemented with voices that provide a fairy tale feel, as the cast ranges from peppy to wise without feeling out of place.

For the most part, the gameplay mechanics follow what you expect from a puzzle platformer. You can run in any direction, climb up ledges, and jump pretty great distances. The Seed often powers up things worth activating, so it becomes a matter of triggering the thing to solve the puzzle. While it might not seem like much beyond a cute squeak, your back can activate some of those powered-up parts of the forest as vines extend to give you a platform or you awaken sentient creatures that are key to something you'll stumble upon later in the stage.

The hook is the ability to change seasons, which changes the conditions for your environment. It starts with you barking at the season fragment you obtain, so the season changes can occur. Later on, you absorb the fragments and can change the seasons at will, affecting the world around you in pretty interesting but also predictable ways. For example, while you can swim, you can't leap out of a body of water. Activating Winter turns that water into ice, which you can easily walk across and leap on as if it were land. Activating Fall makes the water liquid again, while using Spring raises the water level and Summer drops it. The same thing happens for other things, like the fungi you can use as a springboard and floral cannons that can launch large droplets of water or a heap of snow.

Seasons After Fall makes great use of all these seasonal conditions, often asking you to switch between them order to make it past a puzzle without a hitch. This may sound like it can get tricky, but the game wisely prepares you for these possibilities by presenting all of the conditions separately as you retrieve each of the seasonal fragments. By the time you're let loose with all of your powers, you know exactly which season affects each object in each possible way, so all that's left is the execution. Even without guidance, there aren't too many puzzles that are head-scratchers, so you'll be able to get through the short game pretty easily.

That all sounds like the title is devoid of any real challenge. That ideal gets further cemented when you realize that there are no enemies and there's no way you can place yourself in a fail state. At the same time, this isn't a bad approach. Quite a number of players are often scared off from the puzzle platformer because even though the platforming can be solid, the puzzles can feel a bit obtuse or require too much dexterity. This becomes more of a game for those beginners, as they're allowed to fail often without any real penalty, and the confidence gained from this title is helpful once a tougher game comes along to challenge them. Besides, the experience is a whole is still satisfying enough with a narrative that isn't dependent on tugging at heartstrings. Don't be surprised if you find more experienced players enjoying this for the same reasons that will entice newcomers to give it a shot.

The one complaint that you can levy against the title is its re-use of environments. To be fair, you uncover completely new sections of the forest when you revisit them with your new powers. Having said that, you'll be pretty familiar with most of the sections beforehand because of your initial meetings with the guardians, so you'll be trudging through quite a bit of familiar ground before reaching the new areas.

In the end, Seasons After Fall is another great platformer that places value in puzzles and dexterity over combat. The puzzles don't feel overly difficult, but their execution is done well. The same can be said for the season changes, where it becomes very obvious which season needs to be used, but it feels satisfying anyway. It feels like a game for those just starting out in the genre, but the presentation is so well done that more experienced gamers won't mind giving it a spin. If you have an afternoon to spend on a game, Seasons After Fall will make that time feel worthwhile.

Score: 8.0/10

More articles about Seasons After Fall
blog comments powered by Disqus