Ary And The Secret Of Seasons

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Adventure
Publisher: Modus Games
Developer: Fishing Cactus (EU), Exiin (US)
Release Date: Sept. 1, 2020


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by Thomas Wilde on July 9, 2019 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Ary And The Secret Of Seasons is an adventure game that follows the journey of a young girl named Ary across the magnificent world of Valdi.

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Some games try to conceal their inspirations. Others lean into it. Ary and the Secret of Seasons is very much deliberately a 3D Legend of Zelda game, with additional inspirations taken from Fable, the Jak & Daxter series, Kingdom Hearts, and a dollop of "Metroidvania." It's a bright, cheerful epic adventure that wears all its influences on its sleeve, made over the course of two years by a team working out of Brussels.

Ary is a girl who lives in a land of eternal spring, until one day, she doesn't. Some unknown force reverses the seasons, throwing Ary's home into eternal autumn instead. There are other lands for an eternal summer, fall, and winter, which have also been flipped, and Ary sets out to figure out who did it, why, and how to reverse it.

Ary's equipped with a sword, a dodge-roll, a double-jump, and most crucially, a slingshot, which she can use to fire special stones. On impact, the stones burst into surprisingly large, spherical zones of seasonal weather, which persist until you dismiss them. It's raining in autumn, freezing cold in winter, and hot in summer, all of which comes with appropriate abilities and consequences for her environment. A winter sphere can freeze over bodies of water or create ice platforms; trapping something in the rainy fall sphere can put out flames. The spring sphere's a little more subtle, as it's basically the "normal" setting, but it can cause plant life to rapidly grow within the sphere.

There's also a slight element of time travel attached to the spheres, since all of the seasons are eternal within their respective environments, so tossing a sphere of another season may also let you revisit a different stage of the area's development. For example, there was a bit in the E3 2019 demo where the winter sphere let Ary use an elaborate series of previously nonexistent ice sculptures to ascend to the top of a tower.

The E3 demo for Secret of Seasons showed off some colorful environments, full of lush natural landscapes and tall mountains to climb, but the central feature of the demo was a boss fight. After finding a boss key, Ary got the chance to summon a giant stone bird, the Winter Golem, in order to fight it for the chance to return one of the realms back to normal.

Here's where the Zelda influence really kicked in. The Winter Golem fight is an elaborate, multi-stage brawl that requires a little luck, quick reflexes, and problem-solving skills. It begins with Ary having to use her slingshot rapidly to clear a path for herself as she chases down the Golem, until finally catching up with it in a wide spring field. From there, she used the spring stones in her slingshot to catch the Golem in the rain, extinguishing the flames on its wings and forcing it to crash to the ground.

There wasn't much more of the game on display at E3 besides that, although the boss fight was long and visually appealing enough to show off quite a lot. The final version of the game is said to involve a few stealth mechanics, as well as multiple areas to explore as Ary branches out into the other seasons.

Ary and the Secret of Seasons is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2020 (some sources say March, but the project lead at E3 wasn't willing to be that specific) for the PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One.

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