Seasons After Fall originally released on PC back in September 2016 to generally positive reviews. A game that held a striking presentation and some interesting gameplay dynamics, but faltered in a few other respects. I reviewed the game myself and felt it was a curious and beautiful experience, yet shallow in parts and became a little tedious towards the end. Clearly, however, it has done well enough to justify further attention, and finally the developers have ported the game to consoles.

As a returning player, there’s not much the console ports can offer to entice you back in. There’s no new content, and no noticeable improvements, so if you’ve already played on PC then you can probably stop reading as your opinion on the game won’t be changing. For those who missed the original release, or don’t game on PC, however, this is a good chance to experience a very visually interesting and unique title.

The port to PS4 bears no ill effects. It runs fine, looks as good as it originally did, and using a controller (assuming you don’t have one for PC) is the more natural way of playing the game. With that said, you can rest easy knowing your experience is going to be just as good regardless of which platform you buy for (aside for Xbox One as I haven’t personally tested that version – though heard no specific complaints with regards to how it runs).

For those who are new to Seasons After Fall, I’ll explain briefly what it’s all about. Playing as a sort of magical seed, you are coaxed to the forest by a disembodied voice that explains it needs your help to be set free. In order to do so you must visit the Guardians of the seasons and acquire their power for a ritual. Problem is, as a seed you can’t get too far on your own. But then in trots a curious little fox – one that will do nicely as your new body.

After taking control of the fox you are now free to run and jump your way through the trees and across the plains in search of these Guardians and their power. The main twist of the gameplay comes when you acquire these powers. The ability to change seasons (summer, winter, spring and fall) at will, and the various environmental effects that this entails. A puzzle platformer at heart (though the platforming is very light indeed), you will need to switch between seasons in order to solve puzzles and access new areas. It’s quite an interesting mechanic, really, as you make plants grow to create platforms to jump on, freeze over lakes so you can walk across them and so on.

The world is relatively open for a sidescroller, allowing you at times to choose your next route and to backtrack so you can explore areas more fully. It’s not spectacular freedom, but it prevents the game from becoming too linear and allows you to explore your new powers to a greater extent. There’s also very little direction given after you get past the opening few sections, which adds a degree of challenge.

The most notable aspect of Seasons After Fall for me, however, is the aesthetic and overall presentation. Beautifully hand crafted visuals show off excellent colour variations between each of the seasons, making the game visually dynamic and exciting. The music is fantastic as well and perfectly fits the sights and tone changes throughout. It makes passing through each of the locations a joy to behold, and it’s fun to switch between seasons just to see how each area changes.

The game is generally solid and incredibly well presented, and I have very few complaints with the actual gameplay (aside from some slightly clunky jumping), however there are a few issues that I expressed in my original review that still stand. Seasons After Fall presents an interesting dynamic with its season changing puzzles, however ultimately there’s not enough variation or challenge with them throughout the game, and it ends ups feeling a tad shallow. The lack of direction and linearity, while great for providing a more involved experience – requiring you to use your memory and initiative to progress in some parts – can end up making the game frustrating. It isn’t a small world either, so when you end up taking the wrong path and realise you have to turn back and re-tread old ground, things quickly become tedious.

So my opinions haven’t really changed on the game, perhaps unsurprisingly. It’s got its frustrating elements, and it’s a shame the game lacks a bit of depth and variety in its puzzling, but otherwise Seasons After Fall is a delightful experience. The narrative and visuals make up in part for any simplicity or tedium, and the season changing puzzling is certainly unique. If you haven’t tried it out yet on PC then this is your chance.



Author

John Little
John Little

I started gaming with the release of the PS1, and have been enthralled with the medium ever since. I particularly love strategy and horror games - Silent Hill 2 and Shogun 2 being a couple of my all time favourites. I became adamant that I wanted to be a video game critic after discovering YouTuber TotalBiscuit, and subsequently took on (and completed) a Journalism course, hoping to one day play and talk about video games for a living...or, you know, just as a hobby.