Season: A Letter to the Future Review
The medium has evolved to encompass a variety of experiences to suit the needs of a range of gamers. While some want gameplay-rich titles that challenge their skill and ability, others crave a narrative that takes them on an enthralling adventure. Season: A Letter to the Future, drifts in the latter of these but will this relaxing, meandering ride be a memorable journey through a quaint village?
You take on the role of a young woman who lives in a secluded area. After you learn that a cataclysmic event is on the horizon, you take it upon yourself to document the world so that future generations get a glimpse of the past. For the first time, you leave your mother and venture past the walls to discover what lies beyond. The game allows you to wander through the world to slowly unravel the narrative. There is an element of ambiguity that adds intrigue to every new environment and character you encounter.
A Moment in Time
Each person you meet has an emotional and personal story to tell. You will learn about their life and form a real connection. This connection is a sad one, however. The weight of the inevitable catastrophe is evident in many of these conversations. The regions surrounding these characters also add to their personality. In one instance, you meet an artist who detests her creations. Dotted throughout are sculptures, scrap, and unfinished projects that reflect her mental state. This helps to build a larger picture of the person and makes each encounter unique and memorable. Unfortunately, the overarching plot isn’t as strong as the individual stories with the ending, in particular, lacking focus and impact.
The environment is littered with landmarks. With no quest markers and a simple map at your disposal, you must rely on these to help you navigate the world. Throughout, you will find tourist maps and signs to help point you in your desired direction, however, you decide where you want to go. There’s an intoxicating, non-linear, free-flowing design that makes you want to ride every trail to unearth all the secrets within. To traverse the landmass you have your trusty bike. With ease, you can cycle through the myriad of routes and paths to stumble upon new findings. The haptic feedback is well implemented. You’ll feel the weight of the character as you strain to peddle up a hill. The amalgamation of these elements adds a sense of realism to the game which helps you create a bond with the area and people.
Could You Wanna Take My Picture?
To document your surroundings, you have access to a Polaroid-style camera where you can add filters and tweak the focus to ensure that you get the perfect shot. While those aspects are superficial, when you place them in your journal, you are rewarded with information about the world. In addition to this, you can also record snippets of audio. Certain parts of the environment harness memories of the past, and with your device, you can capture these to understand what happened long ago. Although these add an element of gameplay to Season: A Letter to the Future, I would have liked to have seen more variety as these aspects are introduced quickly and remain the same throughout.
There’s a certain whimsy that Scavengers Studio attains with the aesthetics. The vivid color scheme and cell-shaded design add personality to the world and its inhabitants. In addition, the subtle but poignant soundtrack masterfully enhances the emotional aspects of the tale. The combination of these makes this a delightful stroll toward impending doom.
Season: A Letter to the Future is a delightful snapshot of a world on the precipice of a devastating event. Due to this, there is a somber atmosphere that resides throughout your trip. Recording scenarios through your camera, audio device, and journal builds further understanding of the narrative; however, these three components don’t evolve which makes the gameplay quite repetitive. Although each encounter is distinct and their story is well told, the conclusion stumbles. Despite that, fans of narrative-driven titles should hitch a ride on this unique trip.
***PS5 code provided by the publisher***
- Beautiful Art Direction
- A Fascinating Approach to Storytelling
- Well Designed World
- Minimal Gameplay
- A Little Repetitive
- The Narrative Falters at the End