Ary and the Secret of Seasons is a new action RPG from developers eXiin and Fishing Cactus, published by Modus Games.
The story is of Aryelle (Ary for short) as she sets out into the world to figure out why the seasons are all in disarray and to understand what happened to her brother. You see, her father is the Guardian of Winter so she sneaks off and steals his Winter gem and sets forth to learn the secrets of the seasons and to restore balance to the world of Valdi. The world of Valdi is pretty expansive and full of places to explore and find treasures and puzzles which can be solved with the use and mastery of the different seasons.
While travelling the world of Valdi, Ary will have to dispatch copious amounts of “Hyena’s” which serve as mere obstacles on the way from point A to B. The controls are extremely accessible and simple enough that players who are quite young should be able to pick this game up and jump right in. Battles consist of striking, rolling and parry moves. I found the parrying to be extremely forgiving. The variety of enemies isn’t the most expansive I’ve ever seen but I’ve quite enjoyed the boss battles which require your mastery of the seasons to complete. You’re likely to die a good number of times but you never re-spawn far or with much of your progress erased. For example, one of the early boss battles I was close to completion before getting careless and dying, when I came back to exact revenge, he boss was about 3/4 of the way to defeat.
The environmental puzzles scattered throughout were fun. At times they got a little hairy but once you took a moment to look around and try a few tactics often times I felt like a fool for not paying closer attention.
Graphically, you’re not likely to be blown away. I felt like the graphics were more akin to a generation 1 Xbox 360 levels of quality but for me that wasn’t a deal breaker. It had a nostalgic feel for me if I’m completely honest with you. The voice acting was adequate enough for the cut scenes. One scene in particular when Ary meets the Guardians had me cracking up pretty good.
I thought that Ary and the Secret of Seasons was a pretty good game. While it may not scratch the itch of everyone but I found the game as a whole to be charming. It’s not without it’s faults (a bit buggy in spots and graphical issues in abundance)but it serves as a nice little distraction as we move forward towards the next gen hardware and software later in the year. Hopefully the devs can sort out those issues in the days/weeks ahead because I really do think they have something here. Hardcore action/RPG gamers will probably not find enough there to keep their interest but it’s a great entry point for younger gamers who haven’t had a lot of experience. I enjoyed the boss battles and the environmental puzzles which, can be found throughout the land and among the dungeons, and found them to be the highlight for me.
– Has a nostalgic feel – a bit like Blue Dragon
– Environmental puzzles are fun
– Really accessible to younger players
– Boss battles were fun
– Right amount of time to completion at about 7-10hrs depending on how you explore
– Buggy gameplay and graphical issues
– Small variety of enemies
– Not enough reward for deeper exploration
– Probably won’t keep more seasoned gamers engaged until the end
Ary and the Secret of Seasons is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam
***A copy of Ary and the Secret of Seasons was provided for review purposes***