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Ary and the Secret of Seasons (for PC) Review

Ary and the Secret of Seasons (for PC) Review

A Zelda-inspired adventure that misses the mark

The Bottom Line

Ary and the Secret of Seasons contains plenty of great ideas, but its poorly implemented action and lifeless world ruin the experience.

  • Return to The Top
  • A Small Town Girl
  • Living in a Lonely World
  • Taking Control of the Action
  • PC Deets
  • The Bottom Line

Cool season-changing mechanic

Wonderful story book aesthetic and voice work

Wonky hit boxes

Combat feels like an unrewarding afterthought

Little incentive to explore the game world

Ary and the Secret of Seasons is an action-adventure game that gives you dominion over the seasons and the power to save the world. If that sounds familiar, it should; Ary is not unlike The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, a beloved Gameboy Color title. Unfortunately, Ary is a bit too ambitious for its own good, stretching itself thin with simplistic, unrewarding combat, barren zones, and unpolished or outright broken gameplay elements. Ary and the Secret of Seasons is a charming PC game with clever puzzles and a comfy aesthetic, but it bogs down the good parts with sloppy, tedious, or seemingly unfinished ones.

Системные требования

    Минимальные:

    • Требуются 64-разрядные процессор и операционная система
    • ОС: Windows 8.1 or above
    • Процессор: Intel Core i5-4590 Geforce GTX 660
    • Оперативная память: 4 GB ОЗУ
    • Видеокарта: AMD FX-6350 Radeon RX 460
    • DirectX: Версии 11
    • Место на диске: 9 GB
    Рекомендованные:

    • Требуются 64-разрядные процессор и операционная система
    • ОС: Windows 10
    • Процессор: Intel Core i7-6700 Geforce GTX 1050 Ti
    • Оперативная память: 4 GB ОЗУ
    • Видеокарта: AMD FX9590 Radeon R9 390X
    • DirectX: Версии 11
    • Место на диске: 9 GB

©2019 eXiin. All Rights Reserved. Published by Modus Games™. Modus Games™ and the Modus™ logo are trademarks of Modus Games, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks or registered trademarks belong to their respective owners.

Системные требования

    Минимальные:

    • Требуются 64-разрядные процессор и операционная система
    • ОС: Windows 8.1 or above
    • Процессор: Intel Core i5-4590 Geforce GTX 660
    • Оперативная память: 4 GB ОЗУ
    • Видеокарта: AMD FX-6350 Radeon RX 460
    • DirectX: Версии 11
    • Место на диске: 9 GB
    Рекомендованные:

    • Требуются 64-разрядные процессор и операционная система
    • ОС: Windows 10
    • Процессор: Intel Core i7-6700 Geforce GTX 1050 Ti
    • Оперативная память: 4 GB ОЗУ
    • Видеокарта: AMD FX9590 Radeon R9 390X
    • DirectX: Версии 11
    • Место на диске: 9 GB

©2019 eXiin. All Rights Reserved. Published by Modus Games™. Modus Games™ and the Modus™ logo are trademarks of Modus Games, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks or registered trademarks belong to their respective owners.

Review: Technical Issues Prevent Ary and the Secret of Seasons from Being a Kid-Friendly Gem

From the opening moments Ary and the Secret of Seasons presents itself as a game that you can’t help but like. It has beautiful cartoon-style animation, an adorable main character and cut scenes that are shockingly good in their presentation value. Unfortunately, the things it does well are offset by technical issues that make it hard to give the game a full recommendation at launch.

Starting with the good, it is truly incredible the small Belgian studio behind the game, eXiin, was able to get such impressive animation into the game. The art style is attractive in gameplay, but the cut scenes are worthy of a movie. The strong voice acting of the main character, Ary, gives extra life to those moments as well. The Shrek-like world is definitely in the family game category, and the colorful world complements that well.

Screenshot: Ary and the Secret of Seasons

The cut scenes are so good that it’s a shame there isn’t more voice acting and in-game dialogue. Much of the dialogue is presented in text, which is more standard for an indie game from a small studio.

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Screenshot: Ary and the Secret of Seasons

Presentation aside, the game plays like an old-school game. It’s a third-person action-adventure game with platforming and puzzle elements as well. It could easily be a mascot game from the late 90s or early 2000s. There’s even an 8-bit minimap that drives that home.

The combat is mostly ordinary. There are a few interesting boss battles, but those are more puzzle-based than driven by combat. The platforming is fun enough, although it is somewhat imprecise. Puzzles and exploration drive the gameplay though.

Screenshot: Ary and the Secret of Seasons

Ary seeks out crystals that hold the power of each of the four seasons. That drives the puzzle elements of the gameplay. There are four cities that are permanently in one season. For example, using the winter crystal can reveal frozen platforms. Summer can melt ice if you need to get under water. Fall can give you vines to climb on if they are around.

By the second half of the game, the environmental puzzles became surprisingly complicated considering how straight forward the first few hours of the game were. I found some to be satisfyingly thoughtful while others were a bit frustrating.

Screenshot: Ary and the Secret of Seasons

This overall package comes together for an impressive 8-10 hour game, when it works properly. I ran into a number of issues in my playthrough on a launch PlayStation 4. The camera can be wonky at times. Sometimes I would get the prompt to initiate a conversation and nothing would happen. One time, the conversation would start properly, but the dialogue box would be empty. Even worse, Ary disappeared from the screen a few times so I had to reload the save. I also endured significant frame rate dips at specific moments in the last couple hours of the game.

The worst experience was when I nearly broke my save. Admittedly, this was mostly my fault because I thought I had what I needed from an area and fast traveled out of a temple. I then discovered I needed to do one more thing there and now couldn’t get back the way I came in. I was able to brute force my way back to the temple by awkwardly jumping along the side of a building that was not designed to be jumped on.

While the cut scenes and art style show eXiin punching way above its weight, the technical issues are not the biggest surprise for a somewhat ambitious game from a small studio. The game received a patch before launch and the developer told me another is pending review for consoles. It sounds like a chunk of the issues will be resolved over time so this might be a game to check out in a couple weeks or more.

Screenshot: Ary and the Secret of Seasons

Even if the technical issues get fixed, the generic combat keeps the game from being something special. There isn’t much of the combat so that’s not a major issue. A version of Ary and the Secret of Seasons that runs better is a good game, but not quite a great game.

It’s a tough game to recommend because it has enough issues that I was a little embarrassed for it. That sounds harsh, but I was picturing showing this game off to someone and constantly trying to explain away its little faults. If it gets patched up, it could be a good game to experience together as parent and child. However, unless you’re looking for this specific genre of child-friendly, cartoony Zelda clone, it’s not good enough to draw from outside its niche. If you saw the trailer and thought it was right up your alley, you’ll probably have a good time with it.

Ary and the Secret of Seasons is out now on Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

Hope for serious patches

Unfortunately, I could go even further into detail in regards to Ary and the Secret of Seasons’ lack of polish. Such as how new mechanics are introduced with literally no explanation that resulted in me not having any idea that I could do the thing needed to progress. Or how there isn’t enough money to buy most of the insanely overpriced shop items. But the fact remains that the game is simply being released too early.

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Still, there’s some really neat stuff here. The dungeons are good (when Ary isn’t turning invisible) and the puzzles are very strong. But the uncertain story, schizophrenic pacing, and giant list of bugs and polish issues make it so that I simply can’t recommend that anyone buy this ten-hour game. At least not until there are some patches that iron out its many, many issues. I just wish that the launch version was more complete, as Ary and the Secret of Seasons still needs a lot of work.

The Bottom Line

Ary and the Secret of Seasons feels like it needed to bake a bit longer before being served up. The puzzles and temples show great forethought, but the gameplay experience quickly depreciates due to the bland combat and disappointingly stale game world. Small technical issues only compound this, resulting in a game that is mediocre at best, despite showcasing great ideas.

Stay up to date with all of our latest PC game coverage by joining PCMag’s Steam Curator page. There, you’ll find all of our Steam reviews, as well as in-depth previews of upcoming Steam titles.

Системные требования

    Минимальные:

    • Требуются 64-разрядные процессор и операционная система
    • ОС: Windows 8.1 or above
    • Процессор: Intel Core i5-4590 Geforce GTX 660
    • Оперативная память: 4 GB ОЗУ
    • Видеокарта: AMD FX-6350 Radeon RX 460
    • DirectX: Версии 11
    • Место на диске: 9 GB
    Рекомендованные:

    • Требуются 64-разрядные процессор и операционная система
    • ОС: Windows 10
    • Процессор: Intel Core i7-6700 Geforce GTX 1050 Ti
    • Оперативная память: 4 GB ОЗУ
    • Видеокарта: AMD FX9590 Radeon R9 390X
    • DirectX: Версии 11
    • Место на диске: 9 GB

©2019 eXiin. All Rights Reserved. Published by Modus Games™. Modus Games™ and the Modus™ logo are trademarks of Modus Games, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks or registered trademarks belong to their respective owners.

Системные требования

    Минимальные:

    • Требуются 64-разрядные процессор и операционная система
    • ОС: Windows 8.1 or above
    • Процессор: Intel Core i5-4590 Geforce GTX 660
    • Оперативная память: 4 GB ОЗУ
    • Видеокарта: AMD FX-6350 Radeon RX 460
    • DirectX: Версии 11
    • Место на диске: 9 GB
    Рекомендованные:

    • Требуются 64-разрядные процессор и операционная система
    • ОС: Windows 10
    • Процессор: Intel Core i7-6700 Geforce GTX 1050 Ti
    • Оперативная память: 4 GB ОЗУ
    • Видеокарта: AMD FX9590 Radeon R9 390X
    • DirectX: Версии 11
    • Место на диске: 9 GB

©2019 eXiin. All Rights Reserved. Published by Modus Games™. Modus Games™ and the Modus™ logo are trademarks of Modus Games, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks or registered trademarks belong to their respective owners.

Review: Technical Issues Prevent Ary and the Secret of Seasons from Being a Kid-Friendly Gem

From the opening moments Ary and the Secret of Seasons presents itself as a game that you can’t help but like. It has beautiful cartoon-style animation, an adorable main character and cut scenes that are shockingly good in their presentation value. Unfortunately, the things it does well are offset by technical issues that make it hard to give the game a full recommendation at launch.

Starting with the good, it is truly incredible the small Belgian studio behind the game, eXiin, was able to get such impressive animation into the game. The art style is attractive in gameplay, but the cut scenes are worthy of a movie. The strong voice acting of the main character, Ary, gives extra life to those moments as well. The Shrek-like world is definitely in the family game category, and the colorful world complements that well.

Screenshot: Ary and the Secret of Seasons

The cut scenes are so good that it’s a shame there isn’t more voice acting and in-game dialogue. Much of the dialogue is presented in text, which is more standard for an indie game from a small studio.

Screenshot: Ary and the Secret of Seasons

Presentation aside, the game plays like an old-school game. It’s a third-person action-adventure game with platforming and puzzle elements as well. It could easily be a mascot game from the late 90s or early 2000s. There’s even an 8-bit minimap that drives that home.

The combat is mostly ordinary. There are a few interesting boss battles, but those are more puzzle-based than driven by combat. The platforming is fun enough, although it is somewhat imprecise. Puzzles and exploration drive the gameplay though.

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Screenshot: Ary and the Secret of Seasons

Ary seeks out crystals that hold the power of each of the four seasons. That drives the puzzle elements of the gameplay. There are four cities that are permanently in one season. For example, using the winter crystal can reveal frozen platforms. Summer can melt ice if you need to get under water. Fall can give you vines to climb on if they are around.

By the second half of the game, the environmental puzzles became surprisingly complicated considering how straight forward the first few hours of the game were. I found some to be satisfyingly thoughtful while others were a bit frustrating.

Screenshot: Ary and the Secret of Seasons

This overall package comes together for an impressive 8-10 hour game, when it works properly. I ran into a number of issues in my playthrough on a launch PlayStation 4. The camera can be wonky at times. Sometimes I would get the prompt to initiate a conversation and nothing would happen. One time, the conversation would start properly, but the dialogue box would be empty. Even worse, Ary disappeared from the screen a few times so I had to reload the save. I also endured significant frame rate dips at specific moments in the last couple hours of the game.

The worst experience was when I nearly broke my save. Admittedly, this was mostly my fault because I thought I had what I needed from an area and fast traveled out of a temple. I then discovered I needed to do one more thing there and now couldn’t get back the way I came in. I was able to brute force my way back to the temple by awkwardly jumping along the side of a building that was not designed to be jumped on.

While the cut scenes and art style show eXiin punching way above its weight, the technical issues are not the biggest surprise for a somewhat ambitious game from a small studio. The game received a patch before launch and the developer told me another is pending review for consoles. It sounds like a chunk of the issues will be resolved over time so this might be a game to check out in a couple weeks or more.

Screenshot: Ary and the Secret of Seasons

Even if the technical issues get fixed, the generic combat keeps the game from being something special. There isn’t much of the combat so that’s not a major issue. A version of Ary and the Secret of Seasons that runs better is a good game, but not quite a great game.

It’s a tough game to recommend because it has enough issues that I was a little embarrassed for it. That sounds harsh, but I was picturing showing this game off to someone and constantly trying to explain away its little faults. If it gets patched up, it could be a good game to experience together as parent and child. However, unless you’re looking for this specific genre of child-friendly, cartoony Zelda clone, it’s not good enough to draw from outside its niche. If you saw the trailer and thought it was right up your alley, you’ll probably have a good time with it.

Ary and the Secret of Seasons is out now on Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

Hope for serious patches

Unfortunately, I could go even further into detail in regards to Ary and the Secret of Seasons’ lack of polish. Such as how new mechanics are introduced with literally no explanation that resulted in me not having any idea that I could do the thing needed to progress. Or how there isn’t enough money to buy most of the insanely overpriced shop items. But the fact remains that the game is simply being released too early.

Still, there’s some really neat stuff here. The dungeons are good (when Ary isn’t turning invisible) and the puzzles are very strong. But the uncertain story, schizophrenic pacing, and giant list of bugs and polish issues make it so that I simply can’t recommend that anyone buy this ten-hour game. At least not until there are some patches that iron out its many, many issues. I just wish that the launch version was more complete, as Ary and the Secret of Seasons still needs a lot of work.

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