Rating : 9/10
There’s something magical about the changing of the seasons: the way nature slowly refashions itself with distinct colours is a miracle of life. With Seasons after Fall, you are given the power to enact those changes instantly, and boy-oh-boy is it stunning. This puzzle-platformer is hands down the prettiest game I’ve played this year.
Everything looks hand-drawn and almost like a watercolour painting, and this is usually a cause for concern with platforming: hand-drawn graphics can make it much harder to judge jumps and can give the effect of input lag. Not so in Seasons after Fall, however, as the controls feel exceptionally tight and responsive, and while I’ve missed a platform or two on the first try, it’s because I was being too impatient and jumped way too early.
You play as a spirit who is guided around a forest by a female narrator, taking the body of a fox to allow you to interact with the world. The animations for the fox are adorable, from its leaping run to its impatient foot tap if you don’t move for a few seconds, and if you just miss a platform it can grab onto the edge and scamper up. The whole game has similarly stunning animations, a lot of which are in the foreground and background to make the environments feel alive.
The puzzles mainly involve switching between seasons – which you can do at will once you’ve met with that season’s guardian – to gain access to new places, and barking to interact with the world. The fox has the most adorable little yips that have a few different pitches, so you can spam the bark and it doesn’t just sound like the same sound repeated over and over again. Sometimes the barks do take a couple attempts to register – particularly when you need to jump and bark – and this is addressed in game as the forest being a little deaf, but it can be a little annoying when you have to do the same thing a few times.
Seasons after Fall features an incredible soundtrack made up of a mostly string pieces, but each piece matches the areas it features in perfectly. Adding to this is the incredible foley, or the environment sounds. When scampering across the open fields, the fox’s nimble footsteps clearly disturb the grass, and when bounding over the stone of a cave an echo of disturbed stone lets the player know exactly what they’re moving over.
I have only two complaints with Seasons after Fall: First, sometimes the foreground art gets in the way of the camera a little too much, and while it never affects a puzzle or jumping, it is a little disorientating to suddenly have a tree take up about 80% of the screen, obscuring the character. Secondly, the game does a pretty bad job of telling the player what they have to do, with later parts of the game becoming very confusing as to where you need to go next. This is all to encourage exploration, of course, but with the absence of a fast travel system in all the zones this can become very time consuming and tedious.
I really can’t recommend Seasons after Fall enough: it’s so gorgeous and the soundtrack is so good, all on top of being a solid puzzle-platformer that explores interesting ideas about the seasons and tells a heartwarming story. My complaints are minimal and honestly don’t detract from the overall experience massively, and this game is just so pretty. The attention to detail in everything, from the background animation to the noises you make as you run, is incredible and makes this well worth a play.
This beautiful puzzle-platformer is filled with attention to detail, and with its tight controls and clever puzzles I couldn’t recommend playing this enough.
Reviews the games nobody else will, so you don’t have to. Give her a bow and arrow and you have an ally for life. Will give 10s for food.