Ary and the Secret of Seasons Review: Ary's Buggy Adventure
After several delays and a lot of waiting, Ary and the Secret of Seasons is finally here. Taking inspiration from classic games like The Legend of Zelda, Ary introduces fans of 3D action-adventure games to a brand new world that revolves around the four seasons and their related elements.
Though Ary features some platforming gameplay, the game revolves around players learning to master those elements, mixing in a good bit of combat and puzzle-solving as well.
It certainly looked promising in its early stages and has many enjoyable moments in its current form, it's a game that could’ve used more time in development.
Ary And The Secret of Seasons Review: Ary's Buggy Adventure
Ary's story revolves around the eponymous Aryelle, daughter of Yule City’s Winter Guardian, Gwenn. In the world of Valdi, regions are controlled by one of four Guardians of Seasons, who are tasked with defending the city from an ancient evil mage's magic. In doing so, they command the powers of winter, spring, summer, and fall.
Several weeks before the story begins, Ary's brother, Flynn, disappears, leaving her grief-stricken father in no state to carry out his duties as guardian. Soon after, Yule City is attacked by mysterious red crystals, turning the seasons upside down. With no one left to take up her father's mantle, Ary sets out to unravel this new mystery herself.
Aside from her father's winter crystal, Ary will find other elemental crystals throughout her journey, and with her new-found abilities, Ary eventually bends seasons to her will.
As an adventure game, Ary and the Secret of Seasons features a number of puzzles.
These can range from freezing gaps between bridges and growing vines through spring’s power or filling up voids with water using the fall crystal so she can swim from one side to another. You can activate and deactivate powers at a whim, making for creative puzzle-solving experiences.
However, the roads of Valdi are not safe, and during your travels, Ary will find a lot of Hyenas, raccoons, hogs, and even deadly fungi waiting to attack.
Overall, combat is quite basic and simplistic, providing a quick attack for sword strikes and a slingshot for ranged strikes. Defensive strategies are key to keeping Ary alive, however, and you have access to parries and dodges.
Ary doesn't have to participate in every fight, though, and it’s important to note this isn’t a game that uses an experience points system, so no grinding is required to get more powerful or upgrade attributes like attack damage or agility. Learning the ropes is relatively easy, and there's little consequence to dying.
Ary and the Secret of Seasons doesn't have an intense open-world like you may find with larger games, but there’s always something to do. Whether that’s collecting pages from the "banned" journal, finding collectable teapots, reading monuments to Valdi’s history, or just participating in some friendly chat with the locals, there’s a lot here to keep things going. Side quests are available in abundance, too, all of which provide rewards.
Numerous shopkeepers also spring up throughout the world, letting Ary buy new weapons, outfits, and more. Of course, you need to currency, which comes in the form of coins. These are earned by completing side quests or locating hidden treasure chests.
Since exploration is encouraged, it's good that Ary has an interesting cast of characters to keep life entertaining, Valdi never feels dull; there is a lot of fun here in uncovering its secrets. And while the game's 3D graphics are not the sharpest, it makes up for that with a colourful visual approach, showcasing the elements well, bringing a lot of life to Valdi.
Unfortunately, Ary’s biggest problem is that it's buggy, and during my playthrough for this review, I encountered numerous technical issues. In the Yule region, some NPC dialogue was completely blank. One side quest requires you to drop a winter sphere around a separate NPC, but it didn’t acknowledge I'd actually done it until reloading the game several times.
I found more bugs in the next region, too, Lammastide. One prevented me from talking to an NPC, which stopped me starting their side quest at all. A different NPC, Judy, also had issues, displaying their text in the wrong language until I completed another task.
Some prior issues had also occurred but these seem to have been fixed with the Day-One patch.
Ary And The Secret Of Seasons — The Bottom Line
- Highly enjoyable platforming
- Lovely visual approach
- Wonderful cast of characters
- Lot of bugs
- Combat is rather basic
Ary and the Secret of Seasons proved highly enjoyable overall, bringing some solid Zelda-esque action to a beautiful yet chaotic world. But it’s hard to ignore the game's technical faults, even if the developers are working diligently to fix them.
While they don’t affect the main campaign, their impact proved enough to dampen the experience considerably. If you can’t wait to dive into a new platformer, there is a genuinely fun game here, so it comes recommended. Just consider it with a strong side of caution until more patches and updates drop.
[Note: Modus Games provided the copy of Ary and the Secret of Seasons used for this review.]