Ary and the Secret of Seasons (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Ary and the Secret of Seasons is a 3-D platformer action adventure game that hearkens back to the PS2 days and is similar to titles like Jak & Daxter.  The story is kind of a cross between Mulan and Avatar: The Last Airbender.  You play as Aryelle, a girl who lives with her family in a magical world where people have the power to control the seasons.  These people are called Guardians, and Ary’s brother Flynn is training to become one.  But when Flynn goes missing and is presumed dead, their father is stricken with grief and it’s up to Ary to cut her hair, put on her brother’s uniform, and take his place to find Flynn and solve the mystery of why dark crystals are raining down upon the land.  The game is available on most current game consoles and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

Ary’s adventure is a 3-D platforming action game similar to titles like the 3-D Legend of Zelda titles.  You’ll visit towns, talk to people, explore vast wildernesses, and much more.  Ary can run, jump, roll, and attack.  You can even equip items later like boots that let you double jump.  Out in the wild, Ary will encounter enemies like hyena people and other animal attackers.  You’ll battle them with Flynn’s training sword and other weapons.  Combat is also similar to Zelda, but here it’s a bit sloppier, unfortunately.

The main gimmick of the game is that Ary can control the seasons with four magical crystals, affecting the environment around her to help her solve puzzles and bypass obstacles.  She starts off with the winter crystal, but obtains the other seasons as you play.  The winter crystal will make snow appear on the ground and ice blocks to form in places that you can jump on.  And the summer crystal can melt ice blocks and snowbanks, uncovering secrets and such.  The season will change in a small circle around Ary.  One thing the game doesn’t do a good job telling you is that if you change the seasons around certain stones, you can make the circle bigger and therefore, find where you need to go and uncover secrets in some instances.

Ary and the Secret of Seasons hearkens back to 3-D platformer action adventure games of the PS2 era, and that would mostly be a good thing, as you don’t see those as much anymore.  But the bad parts of those kinds of games also show up, too.  I already mentioned the sloppy combat, but you also have to wrestle with the camera a lot.  And there are bugs everywhere and you can get stuck in corners and other spots.  Platforming is mostly OK but it’s hard to see where you’ll land from a jump.  And the noticeably choppy framerate doesn’t help much either.  Goals are presented as missions and you’ll see spots on the map to go to, but sometimes it’s still hard to know how to get there.  And this is the first game in almost 20 years I’ve seen that has distance draw fog!  It’s a shame, too, because if this game had a little more time in the oven, it could’ve been really great.  The game gets better as you go on, but it just takes a lot of patience to stay interested in this one with all the problems.

Kid Factor:

Ary and the Secret of Seasons is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence, and Use of Alcohol.  At the beginning of the game, Ary receives a scratch on her face from one of the monsters, and you can see her boo-boo in the cutscenes.  Ary can smack around anthropomorphic animals like hyenas with her sword, but defeated enemies just fall down on the ground.  In one cutscene, the older guardians are drinking and acting silly like they got a little tipsy.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and younger gamers may find it too difficult.

3 Responses to “Ary and the Secret of Seasons (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)”

  1. Do you think maybe the framerate and draw-distance issues are due to a sloppy Switch port? It certainly wouldn’t be the first one…. I ask because this looks like the kind of thing that I wouldn’t buy at full price, but the kids might get a kick out of it, especially if it showed up free on PS+ or Game Pass.

  2. Maybe. I don’t know, I didn’t play the other ports of this. And they could always patch it, but this is the version I reviewed. Definitely worth a try on a sale, though.

  3. The game was updated on switch and the framerate was solved

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

Tired of typing this out each time? Register as a subscriber!