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”