Riding on a wave of praise from gamescom 2017, Ary and the Secret of Seasons has been a highly anticipated game for many. Its charming art style and cute but tough heroine combined with the promise of an adventure filled with puzzles to solve drew me in. I went in with my hopes and standards high, only to have my heart broken.
Ary and the Secret of Seasons Review – The Family Business
Aryelle’s brother Flynn has gone missing, which has driven her father, the Guardian of Winter, into a deep depression. A catastrophic event occurs as giant red crystals slam rain down on Yule. These crystals have flipped Yule’s wintry weather into that of a hot and humid summer. That’s when an important missive from the other guardians arrives calling for an emergency meeting. So Ary takes it upon herself to secure her father’s winter crystal and represent the family. She chops of her hair and dons her brother’s clothing before setting off on her adventure.
Ary and the Secret of Seasons dives head first into the whole “young girl disguises herself as a boy to prove she can do it, too” theme. While it’s not the worst version out there, that whole bit could have been nixed. Gamers have evolved past this trope. This is especially true when the target audience for this adventure are most likely players in the younger demographic.
I wish I could talk to you more about the storytelling, but I was forced to end my time with Ary short thanks to a story quest in which all the people I were supposed to speak to had speech bubbles but no button prompt to converse with them. This glitched side quest directly tied to my ability to progress the story which will stay at 25% until I delete the game from my hard drive. And yes, I did have the latest patch installed.
Ary and the Secret of Seasons Review – Weather Wizard
What had me excited about Ary and the Secret of Seasons was her unique ability to shift seasons. By using guardian abilities, she can create pathways and solve puzzles. Some puzzles require using multiple seasons to solve. I wish I had come across some of those before the ozone came crumbling down around me. There was one stand out puzzle in which I had to time using winter with a swinging ball in order to reach a nearby rooftop. That was pretty neat once I managed to time all the jumps.
It’s a real tragedy that this game is riddled with problems. White text on white or very light grey backgrounds is impossible to read. Using the map is almost pointless; there is no legend for reading the markings, you cannot select or hover over the markers, nor can you place custom ones. Entire bodies of water fail to load which leaves boats floating in the “air” and Ary appears to be flying. And don’t get me started on trees that aren’t rooted to the ground.
I sincerely wanted to enjoy this adventure. Everything I had read about it excited me but here I am, feeling as though I wasted too many hours and grew a dozen new white hairs stressing over a game that was just not ready to be released. From in-game glitches to progression-halting bugs, what little fun there was ended up marred by a game that just didn’t feel finished. Who knows, maybe the other versions of the game don’t have as many problems as the PS4 version. That’s just not a theory I want to spend time to test myself.
Ary and the Secret of Seasons review code provided by publisher. Version 1.01 reviewed on a standard PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy here.