A game by Joris Dormans
Seasons is a game with two intertwined storylines. On the one hand it tells the tale of a young woman on a mission to restore her land to former glory. On the other it tells the history of how the land came to be covered in everlasting winter. This history is related by the girl's grandfather and a few other characters encountered in the game and take the form of playable missions. Seasons is both a hero-quest and a tragedy, told in two different time frames, and from two different, and occasional incorrect, perspectives.
A world covered in everlasting winter, but with a colorful past
These two different stories are not independent. Through her grandfather's tales the young woman learns to understand the land. She learns from the mistakes in the past and sets out to make things right again. Her quest slowly rejuvenates the land around her bringing the whole story to a full and complete cycle.
Magic from the past is not completely gone from the wintery present
The two stories are also differentiated and connected through the games mechanics. The short missions that constitute the land's history follow a classic game mission structure, with clear goals and challenges laid out for the player. These are contrasted to the fairly open-ended gameplay of the girl's quest in the present. After some initial chores she is more or less free to do as she wishes, and it is up to the player to figure out how to proceed. The magic that features prominently in history, grows ever more important in the girl's story frame. But where magic and color are initially abundant in the past, they are scarce in the future. At the same time where magic is in decline in history, its reoccurrence heralds the coming of a new season in the present.
A story of corruption and of restoration
The stories of the past are an important source of magic for the girl. By uncovering secret stars in the missions the player transfers some magic from one frame to another, allowing the girl to explore and restore more of her wintery surroundings. This sets storytelling at the heart of the game's rules and story. Conjuring up a powerful tale of storytelling and imagination.
Collecting stars transfers magic energy from past to present
Seasons also breaks away from some typical platform game conventions. The game is non-violent: all conflict can be resolved without killing or destruction. Even though violence sometimes is an option, the player is encouraged to look for different means. In Seasons you restore rather than destroy. Likewise, as a player you collect many things. But most of what you collect, magic energy, you will give back to the land. You are part of a delicate magic ecosystem. Take care of the land and the land will take care of you by providing new magic energy over time. In Seasons you give rather than take away.
Guarding vurnerable places through the night in both storylines