In Ary and the Secret of Seasons, you wield the power of different seasons to solve puzzles, fight monsters and presumably, save the world. It’s a colourful adventure with a lot more depth to its story and characters than I had originally assumed and after playing through the opening hours and dungeon, and weirdly, the final dungeon, I’m sure this is a game fans of the Zelda series needs to keep their eyes on.

At the beginning of the game, you learn that Ary has recently lost her brother. Although no body was ever found, he is presumed dead by most — except Ary. Her father and brother served as keepers of the winter crystal. A literal crystallised body of ice that wielders are able to use to control the season with. Ary’s village lives in a constant state of ice-age and they like it that way. Similarly, keepers of the other season live in summer, autumn and spring and it seems that is the way the world is designed to be.  

Through the games opening cutscene and moments of gameplay, it’s very easy to like Ary. She takes inspirations from many Disney heroines and she’s full of hope, brave in the face of danger and a fantastic lead for an adventure game. 

Ary cuts her hair and steals her brothers’ clothes early in the game after discovering a letter from the other crystal keepers calling for a meeting in the face of red meteorites that are interrupting the magical abilities of the seasons. It sounds like a lot but in the context of things, it’s pretty simple. Red crystal are bad, we don’t know where they’re coming from — time to put a stop to this. 

So Ary heads out to talk to the council herself. With her father too distraught from the loss of Ary’s brother there’s no one else.

In the opening chapter, I lightly explored Ary’s home town and farmland near the first dungeon. Two big areas that are ready for deeper dives with characters to meet and side quests to be claimed. 

However, with a focus on the golden path, I pushed through to the games first dungeon. Inside you battle creatures in a combat style similar to a Zelda game. You can lock-on to an enemy and do side-flips and rolls to make sure they don’t take any of your hearts (health) and then strike back with a sword. Performing a parry will leave enemies wide open for defeat in a few swift strikes. It’s very simple in the first part of the game and the parry window is very big making most fights a breeze. Things change later in the game, but I’ll come back to this in a moment.  

big chests lead to good things - rule of all adventure games

big chests lead to good things – rule of all adventure games

Exploring the dungeon there’s a focus on simple puzzles using your first crystal and the power of ice. Freezing a puddle enemy you’re able to push them onto a button and open up a door. Crystallising certain totems will activate ice paths that were missing. At the end of the dungeon, there was no boss battle but you do pick up an item that gives you the ability to double jump. 

When I jumped ahead to a save state that was at the final dungeon I got an overwhelming shock at how the rest of Ary’s abilities were being used to do battle and also solve puzzles. Now the puzzles involved multiple crystal powers and were a lot more in-depth. The enemies now also had different types of armour that certain crystal powers were needed to strip away, but you had to be careful as some of your powers could actually bolster the strength of another. Compared to the opening hours the combat now involved a lot more than simply pressing the parry button. 

there’s a loveable goofiness too several of the characters I met

there’s a loveable goofiness too several of the characters I met

I don’t want to spoil anything else I played from that final section, but I will say that there was a boss battle in the final dungeon and it was quite impressive.

When I walk away from my first couple of hours with Ary and the Secret Seasons I have a deep desire to return. There’s so much to be explored, characters to be met and a genuinely exciting story to return too.

Ary and the Secret Seasons is releasing on September 1st for PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch.