Developed By: eXiin, Fishing Cactus
Published By: Modus Games
Platforms: PlayStation 4 / Xbox One / Nintendo Switch / PC
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4 PRO
Ary and the Secret of Seasons is about an adventure of a young girl name Aryelle (or Ary in short) traveling around the world of Valdi to restore the seasons of the states while searching for her brother – Flynn. As the newly appointed Guardian of Winter, Ary will learn to manipulate the seasons to help her defeat enemies, overcome obstacles, and solve complex puzzles on her quest to restore balance to her home.
Is this an action game?
During her journey, Ary will encounter enemies that are trying to stop her from advancing. Ary is able to take them on with simple sword fighting combat, where parries and dodges are part of the mechanism. As I played through the game, I realized that the items collected along the journey are pretty useless or redundant which doesn’t have any in the game. The impact of fighting the enemies quickly lose their significance once the player realizes that there are basically no meaningful systems or consequences to being incapacitated. First of all, there is no leveling or weapon upgrading system in the game, and there is no loot or drops from killing the enemies too. Secondly, there won’t be any game over in this game, the player is able to respawn around the place where your last death is so it quickly feels unnecessary to maintain your HP bar. Thirdly, weapons don’t have any tangible effect on the attacking power so players will need to gain attacking power by upgrading the skill. Even with Flynn’s sword which is acquired from the starting of the game is sufficient for the player to complete the final boss battle as the game puts more focus on elements of the season playing a key role to defeat bosses to collect the cores.
If this is not an action game, then what game is it?
Even if it doesn’t really scratch the action game itch, the Ary is thankfully a better puzzle-solving game. By incorporating the power of the seasons, Ary is able to use it to her advantage in solving those puzzles to unlocking ruins. For the puzzle-solving, mainly Ary needs to deliver a “magical” ball from point A to point B to unlock a door to proceed to the next puzzle. Most of the time Ary will need to use the special skill to cast a power of the season in order to carry the ball to solve the puzzle. Other than delivering the ball, Ary will need to climb up and down with using the power of a season to proceed to a “Key Room” to unlock the door to meet the boss. Ary will then get a key item from the loot box which helps in continuing the journey. The graphics of the game is perfectly serviceable but I was particularly impressed with how the development team put their best effort into ensuring each region had a different season and even during casting powers the area would change accordingly.
Funding and Grinding?
Ary is able to earn gold from hidden chests which will be used for combat upgrades such as agility of combat, attacking power, health regeneration and etc. Also, Ary can get to buy some equipment like weapons, clothes, wigs, masks and etc. But this is cosmetic only, except for skill upgrading might have a little help with battles. The only way to get coins is from chest looting. Every game comes with side quests and Ary and the Secret of Seasons also choose to have some. Unfortunately, even though it does have quite a healthy amount of side quests I found myself lacking in any sort of motivation to complete them due to how unrewarding they are. No key items, skill points, or coins as a reward so it feels there just to check a box. Even though players are given the choice of spending their coins to upgrade skills or purchase cosmetic items, the former will ultimately feel more worth spending the coins on due to how hard coins come by as they are only found in chest boxes.
What I Liked
- nice puzzle-solving design with four-season elements
- nice storyline design
- easy continue method after death/game over, all I need to do is keep an attempt to solve the puzzle or rushing through the enemies
- fully utilizes the power of the four seasons as some enemies require specific seasons to defeat them.
What I Disliked
- too many glitches,
- lack of attraction to complete side quests.
- combat feels like an afterthought due to lacking equipment system.
Ary and the Secret of Seasons ended up being a game that had an interesting concept but the end product was just okay. Boss fights were interesting due to the seasonal elements but stuff like fighting those hyena minions just felt like a waste of time. it is also strange how the game has a store to buy cosmetic items but is quite stingy with giving the player coins to spend them on as the coins are gotten from hidden chests. For those looking for a solid puzzle/adventure game, there might be something here to satisfy that interest but Ary and the Secret of Seasons is a middling game that disappoints.