Recently, I was able to play a preview version of Ary and the Secret of Seasons by developer Fishing Cactus, Exiin, And publisher Modus Games. The game introduces an action-adventure narrative where you utilize the power of the seasons to change the environment that helps you solve various puzzles. There’s a ton of creative elements here, but a bit of refining could make it even better.
In Ary and the Secret of Seasons, players begin their journey in the town Yule as Ary. It’s learned that this village thrives in perpetual winter, and you learn that your brother has gone missing. Sadly, that’s just the beginning of bad news as seasonal crystals begin crashing down in Yule, changing the frozen landscape to spring. At the same time, hyena monsters have infiltrated the town, forcing you to arm yourself to save the village and also look for your brother.
Combat sees you armed with a sword with a lock-on feature to focus on a specific enemy. You can dodge enemy attacks by rolling, or if you are brave enough, you can attempt to parry, which will give you the advantage by slowing down your enemy for multiple strike opportunities.
Enemy encounters in Ary and the Secret of Seasons are genuinely fun and provided a decent challenge since it’s essential to perfect your timing. If you happen to be knocked out, you aren’t set back too far, thanks to a liberal checkpoint system that gets you right back in action.
Furthermore, there are some enemies you can disarm with your seasonal abilities. These abilities find their way into the puzzle elements of gameplay as you can usee frozen enemies to progress through certain sections. This ended up providing a nice transition from combat to more enigmatic moments.
Some of these puzzle sections are relatively creative and give you a lot of things to think about and work with. I actually struggled a bit on some of the later puzzles within the demo’s winter temple. These could be a bit tricky to figure out if you aren’t aware of your surroundings or, in my case, your boundaries.
During my playthrough, there were a couple of times Ary clipped through some walls that I was investigating, which only added to my confusion. Refining these environments and adding more polish could make this a non-issue when the game releases.
The multiple season feature means several possibilities for terrain changes, so there’s a great deal of trial and error while exploring. Seasonal crystals can be found that extend the reach of a particular season, which ties into the overall weather mechanic and even the side quests. I could see myself searching areas for a while to see how they change with each season.
Ary and the Secret of Seasons is hugely reminiscent of a Saturday morning cartoon, and this is reflected in its vibrant graphics and its dialogue. From every cutscene and NPC I talked to, Ary appears to have an extraordinarily lighthearted and kid-friendly feel to it. Maybe this made puzzles that I struggled with a bit more humbling.
While there are some environments that I think can be refined before launch, Ary and the Secret of Seasons looks to provide a colorful world of possibilities for those who play.
Ary and the Secret of Seasons is planned to release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC-Steam on September 1.
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