SEASON: A letter to the longer term
“SEASON: a letter to the future is an unforgettable road trip adventure that invites players to soak in its serene world.”
Thoughtful gameplay hooks
Satisfying bike traversal
Some meandering writing
Parts really feel underexplored
I think about that I’ll always remember the primary time I rode my bicycle in Season: A Letter to the Future (stylized as SEASON: A letter to the longer term by developer Scavengers Studio). Shortly into my first journey outdoors the partitions of my secluded village, I discover a shiny pink bike beckoning me to experience it. I gingerly stroll it via the city’s gates after which hop onto it and take off. I’m instantly gliding down a hillside like a fowl on the wind, soaking within the picturesque panorama outdoors of my hometown for the primary time.
It’s not that I can recall each second of the scene beat for beat. Rather, the broad strokes of it stay etched in my thoughts like a sketchbook doodle. I can hear the mild sound of my bike tires spinning, think about the splashes of cool colours, and really feel the graceful movement of my bike careening via the countryside. If you stopped enjoying the sport there, you could possibly nonetheless perceive the whole lot it communicates to you all through its six-hour journey.
Season: A Letter to the Future is a meditative indie journey that rewards gamers who’re prepared to decelerate and take all of it in. Even when its written story wanders, its vibrant world and detailed sound design at all times speaks for itself.
Time of the season
Season: A Letter to the Future joins a small checklist of video games that I’d describe as “road trip stories.” It follows a younger lady who’s tasked with leaving her remoted hillside village to alert the world of an impending season change. That could sound like a low-stakes setup, however seasons on this universe don’t simply sign just a few months of chilly climate. The phrase marks a significant sea change on this planet, nearly working like a prophecy. One earlier season, as an illustration, introduced a warfare, the remnants of which nonetheless linger via its landscapes.
I’m not there to evaluate, however to hear and perceive.
While it appears like a grounded slice-of-life story initially, its tone extra veers into quiet magical realism. Developer Scavengers Studio excels at crafting its personal intriguing actuality that blends naturalism with honest spirituality. One second ,I’m serenely strolling via a area of cows, basking within the solar’s golden glow. The subsequent, I’m praying on the altar of a God that can wipe away a little bit of my reminiscence. No matter what discovery I make on my journey, I’m simply in a position to settle for it because the pure order of the world. I’m not there to evaluate, however to hear and perceive.
A big bulk of the six-hour sport takes place in a small open-ended space the place gamers are free to bike round and uncover what occurred in earlier seasons via refined environmental storytelling. It’s borderline postapocalyptic, however in a manner that feels oddly smooth and comforting. Abandoned automobiles line the streets, which the protagonist excitedly observes like historical relics from a earlier, tech-oriented season. It’s not that humanity is gone; it’s that it’s at all times in flux. It’s as much as gamers to hunt out solutions concerning the outdated methods by filling up a journal that’ll act as an enduring file of historical past.
That setup makes for an engrossing assortment of minor mysteries that I can both work to piece collectively or just settle for and transfer on. Sometimes, I’m much more happy not understanding. Season’s solely actual flaw is that it has the tendency to overthink itself, with its protagonist providing meandering philosophical waxing as she explores. Some of its writing vaguely meanders round a wide selection of themes, cluttering an in any other case clear meditation on reminiscence. Scavengers Studio nearly appears self-aware of itself too. When I file a fowl’s tune close to the tip of the sport, the protagonist begins to weave a wandering poem earlier than admitting she has no concept the place she’s going with the thought and abandoning it.
There are moments the place the undertaking can really feel a bit restricted in scope. After 5 hours, I wanted there was extra historical past and thriller for me to uncover. There are solely a small handful of characters scattered round too, which left me with solely a partial view of what this world’s inhabitants are literally like. Though there’s energy in its limitations too. I desperately wished to cling on and continue learning, however time waits for nobody. It will not be my job to cease the upcoming season, solely to take as many reminiscences as I can with me earlier than I have to transfer on.
Stop and hear
Season retains its gameplay easy, taking a “walking simulator” strategy, however the little selections it does make are significant. It’s finally a narrative about being current on this planet and studying about it via osmosis. Every sight and sound is simply as essential as a hidden piece of lore that explicitly particulars the historical past of a mysterious navy operation. That concept is mirrored each in its painterly countryside vistas and its wealthy soundscape, filled with dashing water and clicking cicadas.
When my journey ends, I’ve extra to point out for my time than just a few Steam trophies.
Each of its few programs is thoughtfully thought-about to pair with these strengths. While gameplay is just a little free-form, the principle via line revolves round a scrapbook that may be stuffed out all through the journey. The protagonist solely leaves residence with a digital camera and a area recorder, seeking to doc as a lot of the world as potential. Photography is very rewarding, because the world isn’t affected by button prompts that present gamers what objects they will work together with. Instead, taste textual content is mostly triggered by taking a photograph of one thing. The extra I snap, the extra my curiosity is rewarded after I’m least anticipating it.
The audio recording facet is an particularly excellent match for its premise. When I hear a soothing sound, I can pull out my microphone and seize it for so long as I need. I spend minutes on finish merely listening to fowl calls or the sound of a fountain pouring out a mild stream. I really feel like I’m studying from the world, each little sound talking to me. The narrative pushes on that concept extra explicitly, as there are purple flowers scattered round which have absorbed conversations, turning them into pure audio logs.
Those significant interactions are linked collectively by one of the crucial satisfying traversal programs I’ve performed in latest reminiscence, up there with Sable‘s calm gliding. At any point, I can hop onto my bicycle and smoothly pedal my way around. I feel an immense sense of freedom in those moments; I’m virtually in a position to really feel the wind shifting via my hair because the sound of the breeze blowing passes via me. Every second I spend soaking it in is a blessing I can’t take as a right. Who is aware of if I’ll expertise that peace once more when the following season begins? I’ve to soak within the second like these purple flowers.
When my journey ends, I’ve extra to point out for my time than just a few Steam trophies. My journal acts as a file of the place I’ve been, maintaining the reminiscence of my particular person journey preserved. Every photograph I’ve taken or sound I’ve recorded is stored in its pages, exhibiting off the precise manner I heard and noticed the world in my travels. It’s a private reward, and there’s quiet consolation in the truth that nobody else’s closing scrapbook will look precisely the identical as mine. I stuffed my pages with the awe-inspiring landscapes that spoke to me, however maybe another person will focus their digital camera lens on the world’s city decay to emphasise historical past’s haunting previous. Neither perspective is unsuitable, and that’s one thing I realized to embrace by the point the credit rolled.
Season: A Letter to the Future was reviewed on PC.
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