Going into a 2D platformer, you never know what to expect. The tone and variety of gameplay can be either zany and manic or a far more sober affair. Swing Swing Submarine’s first release on Xbox One and PS4, Seasons After Fall has all of its paws squarely in the more sober end of the spectrum. In Seasons After Fall, players control a fox who is tasked with restoring order to a forest filled with nature and magic.
Seasons After Fall: Xbox One [Reviewed], PlayStation 4, PC
Developer: Swing Swing Submarine
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Release Date: 16 May 2017
Price: $19.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
Early in the game, players earn the ability to change the seasons at will; each season will alter the environment around you and is the main method of solving the puzzles scattered around. It turns out this works rather well as, with such a limited toolset, the solution to a puzzle is around you in most cases. The few times I did catch myself hunting down what I needed, I hadn’t explored the surrounding area well enough. With that in mind, Seasons After Fall‘s puzzles work well but don’t offer a significant or lasting challenge with my playthrough clocking in at around seven hours.
Matter of fact, the platforming of the game doesn’t task the player either. Players will jump from platform to platform and utilize streams of light in order to traverse some areas. However, there is no difficulty to these proceedings and no special segments to break up the gameplay. Yet, during my play-through, I didn’t crave any deviation. More than anything else, Seasons After Fall‘s lack of difficulty works in it’s favor and creates a truly relaxing game.
That relaxation is punctuated by the hand-drawn environments. While not as crisp as Ori and the Blind Forest, and not as ethereal as Child of Light, Seasons After Fall has a watercolor aesthetic to it that is always pleasing to the eye. The different seasons also change the colors of the surrounding environment and are easily discernible. Along with being artistically pleasing, I didn’t notice any technical issues. In truth, Seasons After Fall performed smoothly on Xbox One S.
One of the biggest surprises to me was how much I feel head over heels for the soundtrack. Composer Yann Van Der Cruyssen, who pulled double duty by crafting the sound effects as well, created a gentle soundtrack composed entirely by a string quartet. It’s risky to put so much stock in one set of sounds, and yet it works incredibly well at conveying emotions at key moments and in evoking an adventuring spirit. When playing the game with no distractions around, the graphic style and music combine to absolutely captivate and invite the player to explore.
The unfortunate thing is that Seasons After Fall is not a very large game, and can be completed relatively quickly. In fact, I felt that the game was over so quickly, and was left wanting more. Despite that, Seasons After Fall manages to be a true piece of art hiding out in a sea of titles full of combat and drama. It’s a low-stress type of game and ends up being a fantastic title to play when you need a break from more daunting titles.
Seasons After Fall manages to be a simple 2D platformer and doesn’t try to strive to be anything else. The game is here to tell a story and doesn’t have a vested interest in challenging the player. The art style and music combine to create a very relaxing, captivating environment, all without overwhelming the senses. A superb pallet cleanser from the AAA games that dominate the industry, Seasons After Fall is a title deserving of attention and the bit of time it asks for.