The only good part of a pandemic? Making video games even more fantastical. For example, ‘Ary and the Secret of Seasons’ introduces us to our young heroine, Aryelle, as she travels the vast world of Valdi and enjoys all four seasons- OUTDOORS! What a fantasy in 2020. Developed by eXiin and Fishing Cactus, and published by Modus Games, Ary and the Secret of Seasons lets you explore the vast and beautiful world of Valdi. Now officially released on Xbox, we get another crack at checking out this gorgeous game.
We begin this adventure with the story of Valdi- a brief rundown of the “bad bad” Mage who stole all the seasons, and threatened to destroy the world before he was defeated by the Legendary Warrior. Only problem is, something is happening with the seasons again. Ary must follow in her father’s footsteps and wield the Winter Sphere, joining with the other Guardians to stop whatever evil is trying to destroy the world of Valdi. Granted they’re a bunch of old men who seem to have forgotten the dangers of the past- I guess it’s all up to Ary!
Ary’s main role in saving Valdi comes in the form of completing an absolute plethora of mini-missions in a game that’s very reminiscent of Zelda, with just a touch of Super Mario. Learning to control the Winter Sphere, you must complete obstacles, solve some pretty tricky puzzles, and defeat the Hyenas on your path to restoring the four elements to their rightful quadrants.
The graphics of Ary and the Secret of Seasons are still amazing. If anything, I’d say I’m even more impressed by the way the graphics quality was maintained during the transfer from PC to Xbox, considering the capabilities of the platforms. The world of Valdi is gorgeous, with the vibrant colours and smooth textures giving a really high quality feel to the game. The way the spheres change their environment is not only clever, but it’s a lot of fun to watch how the different seasons interact with the landscape around it.
Beautiful surroundings notwithstanding, the effect is slightly ruined when you bump into walls or trees and notice that chunks of your body disappear, or when you hit thorn bushes that deflect your character when you’re not actually touching them. Not the greatest collision detection and it does pull you out of the immersion, but stay away from walls and you’ll never notice!
Whilst the controls were pretty standard on the PC, the movement side cannot be improved. This is where consoles really shine, and the relaxed movement through the controller is just fantastic. All the buttons are mapped in ways that make sense and just roll through the fingers. Ary and the Secret of Seasons is one of those games that just feels better on console.
Combat in the game offers a target-lock system so you can scroll through your opponents, but the ability to spam the “counter” button makes it a little easy for the little enemies. The game is also a little slow in terms of using abilities whilst you’re already moving, making timing tricky, but that just adds to the challenge of some brilliant puzzles. The puzzles throughout are complex overall, and yet made up of simple steps that everyone can figure out and enjoy.
Ary and the Secret of Seasons lets you explore the open world pretty generously, only limiting your progression when you need a certain ability to continue. This allows everyone to continue at their own pace, taking your time and completing mini-missions as you desire, or just powering through the main storyline.
Once again, I really enjoyed ‘Ary and the Secret of Seasons’. Its innovative graphics where the Season Spheres interact with the landscapes is a fresh take on interactive gameplay, and the controller definitely makes the game that much more enjoyable. I will definitely be completing all the side missions on the Xbox, and I definitely recommend this game if you’re looking for a nostalgic feel with a decent story.
- Beautiful interactive landscapes
- Good story
- Plenty to do
- Poor collision detection