Game: Seasons After Fall
Release Date: May 16th, 2017
Developer: Swing Swing Submarine
One of the very first things you will notice about Seasons After Fall is the exquisite art style. It blends a mix of the art style and color palette of Ori and the Blind Forest along with the gameplay of Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. What's different about Seasons After Fall and other platformers is that it lets you take control of each of the seasons as you unlock them.
In Seasons After Fall, we control a fox which is being guided by a spirit. I'm one of the few that did not like Ori and the Blind Forest. I found it bland and the story rather boring. Seasons After Fall not only takes the art style of Ori, but adds to it with a much better story. It's simple yet powerful and is something parents will appreciate more. Just as you teach your children to respect nature and have patience throughout life, Seasons After Fall teaches you as well. The changing seasons is as much a metaphor for life as it is a gameplay option. Life is complicated yet simple, and Seasons After Fall reminds you of this through educational gameplay.
You begin as a spiritual essence before taking control of a fox and setting off to retrieve the spirits of the four seasons. As you unlock each season, you are able to travel back to the original levels to reach hidden areas and learn more of the story. Each season let's you manipulate the forest in fitting fashion. Rainy spring days make water fountains get higher before switching to Winter in order to freeze them into a traversable platform. Switching the forest to allow you to continue not only is necessary for gameplay, but it doubles as a life metaphor. Although each moment may seem like its own separately, everything in life and every choice you make is tied together.
While a simple platformer, Seasons After Fall never veered from a message that was educational while both gentle and engaging. Its story and lesson keeps you captivated while the simple gameplay allows you to focus. It never gets too easy where you become bored and fall out of touch with the lesson at hand, nor does it become too difficult and lead into frustration. It's difficult to make a game with gameplay geared for adults with an educational story and life lesson. One often overshadows the other rather than complimenting it, but Seasons After Fall intertwines both into one encompassing experience.
I always felt involved while playing Seasons After Fall. The color palette was outstanding, the story was fascinating and the audio was captivating. Leaves crunch under your feet, wind howls in Autumn and rain drops beat off the ground in Spring. Although a very simple story at its base, the gameplay of Seasons After Fall depends on it. By this I mean there are no markers indicating where you need to go next. You're a fox alone out in the woods. Woods are woods, and as often as they do look incredibly similar. As you progress throughout the game, you'll encounter the same areas with newer powers at hand. It's the same yet different. At first I didn't get the point as it seemed certain points of the game didn't advance the narrative. Ironically, something very small would occur which would alter the story. Of course, it was at this time that the further irony of the correlation between the game and its story came into play.
The feelings the game invokes is also eerily similar to life itself. Becoming frustrated at trying to solve a puzzle that seemingly can't be solved only to have the simplest answer in the world smack you dead in the face is the epitomy of life. Swing Swing Submarine does an excellent job at translating that lesson into a game so effortlessly. Seasons After Fall takes its time in arriving at its lesson, with its "irritations" only acting as such if you don't catch on to the story. It's a competent game with an engaging life lesson, and it also excels as one of the better platformers I've played to boot.