Frankly, I love this game. It’s short, sweet, and easy. There’s no need to commit to a long in-depth plotline, or over-think any of the puzzles
Seasons After Fall is an imperfectly handcrafted indie game by developers Swing Swing Submarine. I say “imperfect” because the animation isn’t as smooth and polished as your usual triple A game. You can see almost every brushstroke and probably pinpoint which Photoshop tool they used for it. However, that’s also what makes this game so appealing. The imperfections make it feel like it was made with a lot of love, like grandmother’s cookies; all you have to do is fetch all of the ingredients (the Seasons and quests from the Guardians) to make the sweetest chocolate confectionary. This cute little game will keep you entertained for a good five hours and maybe only a little frustrated because backtracking is never fun.
Transitioning between the Seasons
Essentially, it’s a side-scrolling puzzle adventure broken into five environments or levels. The first is The Sanctuary, where the Ritual of the Seasons is conducted. The other four represent the Seasons, of course, and are themed accordingly. Each of these four have unique puzzles in accordance to specific Seasons, which the player can easily switch between after the Ritual. Winter freezes water, creating new platforms to jump ever higher; Summer breathes life into certain plants, again for new platforms and progress; Autumn allows mushrooms to become platforms; and Spring makes it rain (reminding me vividly of the Storm Song from Zelda) and lets you change the levels of water.
Nonetheless, Seasons After Fall begins with a beautifully animated scene where a curious fox watches a large flower bloom and toss its seeds to the wind. A voice tells you that it’s time to begin the ritual and collect all four seasons from the Guardians. The voice addresses you as “seedling” and it is then that you finally appear on the screen. As a seedling, you are a lovely glowing green orb, collecting other white orbs as you make your way out of the roots.
It’s a rather soothing experience, floating through the apparent watery depths of a large tree. Slowly upwards you go, until you reach a flower that transports you to the above forest. The voice then presents you with a gift, the bushy-tailed fox we saw earlier. The adorable animal comes willingly enough and the voice helps you (the seedling) possess the fox to further your quest. Now you can run, jump, and bark to get through the various areas ahead.
Even jumping from one bush to the next can look like art
Your first mission is to collect all four Seasons from their respective Guardians for the Ritual of the Seasons. This Ritual allows the player to switch between Summer, Winter, Fall, and Spring to further progress the game. The backtracking starts immediately, as you have to retrieve the Season, then go back using the newly acquired orb. The story takes an intriguing turn and you have to start doing tasks for each of the Guardians, and other set of tasks once you’re done those.
Needless to say, you end up visiting each location three times before they are expanded and new areas are added. This may sound terribly boring, but the ingenuity of each level’s puzzles certainly kept me interested. I particularly enjoyed this little crab creature that when used correctly, could remove obstacles by acting like a bomb. Yes, this adorable rock with legs explodes, just for you. As the developer said in the Twitch interview, that’s the most violent thing that will happen in this game.
Frankly, I love this game. It’s short, sweet, and easy. There’s no need to commit to a long in-depth plotline, or over-think any of the puzzles. All you need to do is be mesmerized by the artwork and animation of Seasons after Fall.
Performance and Graphics
The Ritual of the Seasons
OS: Windows 7/8/10
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 (2.2GHz)/AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ (2.8GHz)
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: 1 GB, DirectX 11, AMD Radeon HD 6750/NVIDIA GeForce GT 640
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 4 GB available space
Did I mention pretty? You could take a screencap any moment in this game and it would make a gorgeous poster. The art style isn’t as polished as some other games, but that’s what I love so much. Seasons after Fall is a painting come to life; vibrant colours and vivid brushstrokes make it clear this game could be in a gallery next to other contemporary artists.
I ran this game on my old clunker of Windows 7 with specs that barely meet the minimum requirements, as my main PC is in repairs. Thus, I must be honest - this game ran well enough but I was definitely pushing my machine to a limit. I am sure, however, that this game is run easily enough otherwise.
Sound is good, nothing beyond the rustle of grass, your magical bark, and the scutter of critters. Always clear and exactly where it should be. Music is instrumental and ambient, including mostly cello. None of it stood out to me, however. It’s nice to listen to while playing, but it wasn’t something I absolutely had to add to my music library. The voice acting is good, but not particularly noteworthy.
The Guardian of Spring
For those that love the moving art indie games are known for, like I am, then this game is for you. The graphics alone are enough for me to spend money on this game, and the intriguing but simple puzzles make it all the better. The balance of art and gameplay is good in Seasons after Fall, and worth the money if indie games are your thing.
That said, for those that are not fans of indie games, Seasons after Fall is worth the price if you have children in the household to play it for. I assure you, you will only play this game once. It’s a nice five hour experience and I’m very glad I had it, but there is no depth here to dig deeper into. If you have little ones running about, this game is perfect before bedtime to either let them play, or watch your platform jumping skills. If you don’t and you’re short $20, I can promise you’re not missing any pivotal moment in gaming history.
SEASONS AFTER FALL VERDICT
Seasons after Fall is beautiful game that exists to dazzle you with handcrafted imperfect art and animation. This is an experience that isn’t for everyone, as some gamers feel their time is better spent in a more perfect art like Child of Light or Abzû. However, for those that fall in love with imperfection, this game is the perfect addition to your library.
TOP GAME MOMENT
The turning point in the story, where you find out what’s really going on.
Very pretty imperfect art style/graphics
Very short game
Almost too simplistic, no direct challenge for the player