Nature has the power to brighten one's mood. Even when things are at its gloomiest, simply looking at a nearby forest and finding all its beauty can easily make you feel better. Perhaps this is why my time with Swing Swing Submarine's woodsy Seasons After Fall had made me smiling from start-to-finish, besides the fact that it's a great adventure overall.

Seasons After Fall has you take control of a wild fox, who has found itself paired up with a seedling. A youthful voice entices you to seek out the Four Guardians of Seasons, with each one giving you the power to manipulate the weather around you. These powers can help with solving areas, as well as grow and discover new life that'll aid you on your quest. As you embark on the quest, the world around you blossoms to life in the most imaginative ways.

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It's easy to see how anyone can dive into the world of Seasons After Fall. One look at its visuals, and immediately you are transported into a realm of the finest nature painters. How the trees, lakes, and caves appear throughout is simply breathtaking, showcasing some of the absolute best visuals in any indie game. Even when you switch into a darker season, the glimmer of beauty never gets lost from the player's sight.

Thankfully the game is as easy to play as it is on the eyes. Jumping from branch to ledge is simple so long as you time yourself properly. Switching between the four seasons is also made simple via using the right control stick or the R button, changing the realm's appearance in a flash. Since you cannot die, a trial-and-error method to solve areas is welcomed. Seasons After Fall never reaches frustrating levels while playing; rather it gives those in control a feeling of calm serenity as they control the adorable little fox. (Those looking for a true challenge may need to seek elsewhere.)

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Often it's fun to see what happens to the plants and wildlife depending on the season on hand. For example: giant mushrooms in the spring may give way to tons of water to raise the lake level, resulting in the fox being able to reach a higher point once switched back over to winter. Seeing how nature manipulates to your needs presents itself with some smart gameplay mechanics, while at the same time letting your brain & fingers take their time to solve some of the more trickier puzzles.

Besides its wonderful gameplay and visuals, the thing that whisked me away most in Seasons After Fall was its soundtrack. Composed by Yann van der Cruyssen and performed by a string section, the songs that blares throughout the game's runtime is some of the most beautiful pieces of classical music you'll find in any video game. At times it reminded me of the soundtracks that Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds cohort Warren Ellis compose, bringing about a level of beauty, warmth, and even sadness that will leave your body covered in goosebumps.

PROS:

  • Beautiful visuals
  • Outstanding soundtrack
  • Fun, simplistic gameplay

CONS:

  • Might be too easy for some

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Seasons After Fall is a gorgeous platformer that plays wonderfully with its surroundings. Thanks to its puzzle elements and one of the most beautiful soundtracks in gaming, any player will find themselves remembering Swing Swing Submarine's adventure for a long time to come. In short: Seasons After Fall is one title that anyone should give their attention to, even when the weather gets a bit rougher.

FINAL GRADE:

Promotional consideration provided by Evolve PR. Reviewed on the Xbox One.

Background Noise: A Wolf in the Doorway by The Ballroom Thieves - If you are in the need for some great background music while on a nature walk, this Boston-based folk group's 2015 debut album will be what you're looking for. With the sounds of "Lanterns," "Wild Woman," and "The Loneliness Waltz," the foliage and adorable wildlife around you will be amplified to soul-quenching levels. It's the perfect record for any season, one that can easily be proven if you can control said seasons with the flick of a switch.

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