I have always been fascinated by the changing of seasons and weather in general. Winter holds a special place in my heart, and it will forever be my favorite season, but I appreciate each one for the different atmospheres they bring and the types of weather we can expect when they are around. That was the first thing that jumped out at me about Seasons after Fall. I adore unique takes on platformers like this. Seeing gameplay trailers and overview trailers, I couldn’t help but notice the way Swing Home Submarine painted the individual seasons, using that remarkable art style. I knew it was going to be a game I’d enjoy, and I’m glad to see I wasn’t wrong. Read on for our full review of Seasons after Fall.
Title: Seasons after Fall
Publisher: Focus Home Entertainment
Developer: Swing Home Submarine
Available On: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4 Pro
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Game Supplied by Publisher
Seasons after Fall is a side-scrolling 2D platformer in the simplest of terms. You play as a fox, navigating around a forest and different environments in and around it. Your task is to gather four spirits held by the Guardians of the Seasons, with a different entity representing each season. There’s the Spirit of the Bear which represents winter, the Spirit of the Cicada which represents summer, the Spirit of the Crane which represents fall, and the Spirit of the Eel which represents spring. Getting to each one will require precise platforming skills, and some sharp puzzle-solving along the way. It was a beautiful mix of the two, and I applaud the developers for the way they handled both mechanics seamlessly.
As you progress from the first Guardian of the Season to the next, you’ll begin unlocking the power to manipulate and control the seasons themselves. Since the first season you’ll get is winter, simply holding in the shoulder button and selecting the season you want it to be via a select wheel will allow you to change the weather on the fly. This mechanic is crucial for solving puzzles, as winter will cause water to freeze over allowing the fox to walk on ice, fall will cause mushrooms and different types of tree-like platforms to materialize, spring will cause the rain to flood certain areas making it easier to navigate to higher terrain, and summer will allow for branches to grow extending over gaps that would otherwise be inaccessible. These are just a few of the examples on how the different seasons come into play when attempting to solve various puzzles.
I don’t want to spoil much of the story, but just know that when you think you’re approaching the end of the game, you actually aren’t. It goes on for quite a bit longer than what I was originally expecting, which was a very nice surprise. All in all, the game took me around five hours to complete, and when all was said and done, I was sitting at just over 80%. To go back and completely 100% the game and get the Platinum trophy would probably add an additional hour to two hours on to the playthrough, and it’s something I do plan on going back to do. But that’s a lot better than thinking I was going to finish this one is around two hours!
Reason being, I cannot speak highly enough to the visual presentation Swing Home Submarine was able to pull off with Seasons after Fall. The world and environments are gorgeous, with each season offering something unique to appreciate, and they each have their own style to them. Winter feels exactly like you expect it to, with snow dotting the landscape and gently falling from the sky, while everything just looks pale and white. Fall brings out the magnificent yellow, orange, and brown colors that are synonymous with the season, with falling leaves found in certain areas. Everything is bright and full of life during summer, with the sky being a picture-perfect blue and green grass. Springtime is known for rain and showers, and it’s no different here, with the rain gently falling from the sky, and everything having a new crispness to it that one would come to expect after just surviving another harsh winter.
The soundtrack itself also deserves a special mention, for it compliments the wonderful art style and addictive platforming perfectly. The game utilizes an actual string quartet to represent different actions on screen, much like you would find in older style cartoons and movies. Violins and cellos are meant to be the falling snow, wind blowing through the grass, and of course the backing music when the situation calls for it. It’s so well done, that even the menus themselves outside of the game have a nice little musical pattern to them when players are scrolling up and down.
Having nothing but praise for Seasons after Fall to this point, there are a few negatives that need to be addressed. For the first two hours or so, the game holds your hand to the point where you always know where you need to go and what you need to do, which can be looked at as a negative for some people. However, after you gather the four spirits from the Guardians of the Seasons, the game opens up allowing you to take off into whatever direction you want to keep completing your task. This simply means that you’ll be re-exploring the areas you just previously went through, which was kind of a letdown, as I wanted to experience more of this world that was created. There were a few small sections that we didn’t get to see initially, but they were really little in comparison to the first four areas that are opened up. Had there been a bit more new environments to see and platform through after the game opened up, I think it would have been so much more fun and engaging for players and fans of the genre. Aside from that, a few small technical hiccups are present, but most of the time it quickly goes away without much of a thought.
Seasons after Fall is a game that deserves all the praise and attention it will undoubtedly receive. Offering a unique style of gameplay with the ability to control the seasons, and a lovely artistic style that other games only dream of having, this is one that fans of platformers everywhere need to experience. Get lost in this word, and let the feeling of walking through nature as a child and appreciating every little thing engulf you once again. You won’t regret it.