Seasons After Fall’s Chaotic Calendar

The build I played did not, alas, involve a stretchy fox

Seasons After Fall is puzzle platformer game where you play as a little fox. No, not that one – you’re thinking of Never Alone. That was an Arctic fox. This is a regular fox. Well, a regular possessed fox who can change the seasons at will.

That’s the game’s main conceit. The seasons have gone haywire and you, a spirit, must get them back in line by awakening ancient guardians.* In order to do so you need a helpful corporeal form so you take over the body of a fox and thus spend the game bounding about and generally pulling the year’s natural cycle hither and yon.

If you’ve played a platformer you’ll be familiar with a lot of what the game contains – or at least what the build created six months into Seasons After Fall’s creation contains. There are jumping puzzles featuring plants which unfurl as you sit on them. There are plants which form bouncy pads. Other flora creates a permanent bond when it touches another plant of the same type and thus you get bridges…

In the section I played you had to get some kind of glowing blue energy to pulse through three branches connected to one of those sleepy guardians in order to wake it. It was tricky, but only in so much as this was an early build and so the puzzle had a fair few rough edges and the controls felt slightly clunky. Speaking to the developers (Swing Swing Submarine) this is not a game with aspirations of fiendish difficulty. “We want game to feel generous,” was their explanation when I asked. “We don’t want the platforming to be a challenge.” So perhaps more a game you would play with a younger relative, using the hub-type structure to return to older levels with new skills.

The interest for me lies simply in the fact that one of my favourite levels of Banjo Kazooie when I was a kid was Click Clock Wood. It’s the one where the same level altered depending on which seasonal door you used to enter it – crops flourished in summer or died off in winter, water dried up or froze solid, the music switched from rich thick sound to a staccato thinness. I’m curious to see how Swing Swing Submarine’s project develops a similar idea.

*Sidenote: why are ancient guardians always in need of awakening? Shouldn’t that be something they screen for at Ancient Guardian recruitment days? Or maybe don’t pick the ones who have a dozen LinkedIn endorsements for “napping”

22 Comments

  1. Sam says:

    If you’re the High Faerie Queen of a fantasy realm with big stompy ancient guardians, all your inter-realm problems (and many domestic) start looking like they can be solved by a good stomping. By keeping the guardians asleep and requiring a plucky young adventurer to awaken them they’re still available if desperately needed, but aren’t just hanging around looking for an excuse to crush the Dwarven Kingdoms.

    (The game looks very pretty.)

  2. P7uen says:

    Felix the Endless Fox

    • Shadowcat says:

      Awakening the massive possessed bear had seemed like a good idea at the time, but now Felix was beginning to have second thoughts…

  3. Borodin says:

    Lovely use of conceit!

    • wraithgr says:

      Where by “lovely” you mean “wrong”?

      • Premium User Badge

        Kortney says:

        It’s a figure of speech. “Conceit” can be used to mean “a fanciful expression in writing or speech” (so “comparing the speaker’s lover to a rose is the poem’s primary conceit”), and so it gets used to mean “the distinguishing trait or gimmick of a creative work”.

        … sorry.

        • wraithgr says:

          So, it gets used with a meaning it doesn’t actually have? Metaphor!=gimmick.
          It’s ok, apology accepted.

      • draglikepull says:

        From the OED:

        “An artistic effect or device: the director’s brilliant conceit was to film this tale in black and white.”

        From Merriam-Webster:

        “an organizing theme or concept ”

        etc.

        Article’s use of the word was correct.

        • wraithgr says:

          Can’t find your OED definition online, and most of the definitions are listed as obsolete.

          But, I found your merriam-webster one (bit obscure as the fourth interpretation of the third meaning)

          So, I’ll concede the use of conceit, although I will still contest that it is a bit conceited.

          • Llewyn says:

            I think you’ll find the best place to find OED definitions online is the OED website.

          • wraithgr says:

            OMG Llewy, why didn’t I think of this before?
            Oh wait, I did, and actually checked before I mouthed off. Did you?

          • draglikepull says:

            It’s definition 2.1 on this page right here:
            link to oxforddictionaries.com

          • Stickman says:

            The source of the confusion is that Llewyn is quoting the Oxford Dictionary (oxforddictionaries.com) rather than the Oxford English Dictionary (oed.com). The Oxford Dictionary is probably better in this case, since it is 1) free, and 2) a dictionary of modern usage, rather than historical usage. Both are published by the Oxford University Press.

            And wraithgr, being the “fourth interpretation of the third meaning” doesn’t necessarily imply obscure, just a less common usage. I (and clearly many other people) have seen “conceit” used in this sense many times before.

          • Llewyn says:

            @Stickman: The quote wasn’t mine.

            @wraithgr: Perhaps you should have expressed yourself clearly then.

          • wraithgr says:

            Draglikepull, as Stickman correctly pointed out, that’s not the OED.
            Stickman, thanks for clearing it up–I was using the OED and wiktionary as my sources, neither of which had a suitable definition. The wikipedia page didn’t help either. I’ve seen this used the same way too, and based on my incomplete search it looked wrong–according to merriam-webster it’s not, so case closed in my book. I still don’t like the word used like this but hey, whatever.

            Llewyn, maybe you should have paid better attention.

  4. Golden Pantaloons says:

    Isn’t Okami also about a magical fox that changes the seasons at will?

    But I guess it never came out for PC, so a re-imagining seems fair enough.

    • draglikepull says:

      You can’t change the seasons in Okami. A lot of the game does revolve around bringing whithered plants back to life, though.

    • Philippa Warr says:

      If memory serves, Okami is a wolf rather than a fox. I never got to the end of that game, sadly. It bugged out so it’s impossible to complete for me now :(

  5. Mordio says:

    Some other plateforming game with “cute fox” as main feature: William & Sly and its sequel

  6. tremulant says:

    Simple as it was, i actually rather liked the original art style from the prototype video, not sure i’m as keen on this.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      It does have a charming children’s book sort of style to it, would be interesting to see some games like that… though the new art in the trailer wins out for me. Very nice.