A game for all seasons
Considering how prevalent the seasons are a part of our ecosystem, it’s interesting that few games have been made that fully explore the gameplay concepts that this offers. It’s not a surprise that Ary and the Secret of the Seasons looks like it’s pulling a few ideas from the most famous example, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons. But don’t let this fool you. Ary brings plenty of its own unique identity to the table.
In Ary, you play as the titular character, a young girl who travels across the mystical world of Valdi which is divided into four areas, each corresponding to a specific season. Due to a curse placed on the world by an evil mage, the seasons are now shifting in each region. It’s up to Ary to rescue the world with the power of the seasons.
Ary is the guardian of winter, which allows her to control the four seasons at any time by shooting pebbles with her slingshot. Whatever her pebble hits, is covered by an orb that contains the power of the element that you want to use. Each of the four seasons has its own property. In spring, vegetation will start to grow on surfaces. In Summer, harsh sunlight will cause heat. The winter brings ice and snow, while fall causes rain. The world of Ary has all sorts of puzzles that require you to switch seasons in order to explore and progress through the world. You can use the power of winter to create ice blocks in order to travel across bodies of water. But while shooting pillars of ice, you can create platforms that allow you to climb the pillar. In the winter area, you can use the summer pebbles to create an opening in the ice, to swim through the bottom of the lake. The amount of different uses for the elements is impressive. Enemies will change based on which season you fight them. A specific snow enemy will only appear if you fight them in a winter zone, but you can hit them with a summer element to melt them and defeat them easily.
While there is combat and a couple of boss fights, the game encourages exploration and discovery. There is not a complete open world, but in the hub area and the four cities you can meet other local inhabitants and complete certain side-quests and smaller story arcs. The game feels like a return to N64 collect-a-thons and other 3D platformers. But the mechanic of the seasons gives it a twist all its own. It’s more focused on puzzle platforming than combat, but that also gives the game its charm. The developers are still actively working on the title and optimizing the game for the Nintendo Switch, but hopefully we don’t have to wait four more seasons before we can play this game.
The article is written by Willem Hilhorst. Follow him on Twitter right HERE!