SEASON: A Letter To The Future (2023) Game Review – Simplistic to a fault

Simplistic to a fault

SEASON: A Letter To The Future is going to be an acquired taste. How much you get out of this narrative-driven adventure game really depends on how much you love exploring and that, combined with the relaxing, tranquil feel, is going to put some people off from this one immediately off the bat.

SEASON is set in a strange land right at the end of the latest season. Something is coming but quite what is unknown at this point. As you venture out from your starting village and begin to explore the world on your trusty bike, more of what’s happening starts to come to the fold and all the little narrative puzzle pieces come into view.

How much you come to understand this world, not to mention the various events that have led up to the here-and-now, really depends on how willing you are to explore every nook and cranny of this one.

The best comparison I can give here are the vaults in Fallout 3 and New Vegas. Some will choose to just explore these freely, seeing what’s inside, grabbing the loot and then moving on without much extra thought.

Other players who are willing to dive a bit deeper are likely to find much in the way of narrative depth hidden below the surface and come away with more understanding of the world and how it all fits together. If you fall into the former category, SEASON is not a game for you.

The story itself is nicely framed though, switching back and forth on occasion between the past and the present. In the present, an unknown figure is at a museum and begins reading a journal. This journal is written and filled out by your playable character; a young woman from a secluded village intent on exploring said world.

With a mysterious pendant that shields her from the effects of the coming end of season, you venture out into the great world beyond, intent on discovering what life is really about. There are no guns or platforming elements here, instead you’re given a pen, a journal, a camera and a microphone. Oh, and your bike too.

These items are the bread and butter of the gameplay, which sees you moving through different areas, snapping photos and recording audio to place inside your journal. Completing entries rewards you with tidbits of dialogue and extra bits of worldbuilding that help you to understand what’s happening.

Although the developers claim the game can be completed between 6-12 hours, exploring and documenting absolutely everything will probably bring you closer to around 8 or 9 hours in truth. Each area needs around 6 or 7 audio/visual aids to complete (although this isn’t essentially to finishing) and although some specific pictures can bring “inspiration” to give little snippets of narration, there’s not too much incentive to take incredible photos.

Along your journey you’ll meet a number of different characters, who in turn open up your “Quests” within the game. Now, it’s not initially clear that this is what purpose they serve, but it soon becomes apparent that you need to please each of the four or five people you meet across the journey in order to progress forward and complete the game.

Most of this, again, can be completed through simple dialogue choices and snapping pictures or recording audio. These aforementioned choices give the illusion of different branching paths but in reality, they really don’t.

The most egregious example of this though comes from the ending. There’s a consistent theme of friendship and helping others throughout SEASON but for some reason this game throws up both a “good” and a “bad” ending… which both end up in the exact same place. It’s a bizarre narrative choice because it’s really not needed.

This is a very chilled and easy title to slip in and out of, but it’s not a particularly memorable experience either. As I said before, you really need to explore everything to get the most out of the story and understanding the world, but even in doing so, there’s not much going on here beyond deities, the true motives behind a group called the Grey Hands and the purpose of a strange purple crystal.

I won’t spoil any of those reveals here in this review, but even those buffs who love learning about the history of fantasy worlds will come away feeling like this one has barely scratched the surface for what it could show. And to make matters worse, there’s not really much incentive to do so.

This simplicity extends to the art style too which swings between beautifully minimalistic, especially for the backgrounds and vistas, but disappointingly simple when it comes to the character design and animation. Lips don’t move while characters talk, dialogue is a bit of a mixed bag across the board, while late on one character you meet looks like someone has just spilled a drink over a Picasso painting.

As a tranquil Indie experience, SEASON certainly isn’t bad but it’s not a particularly good game either. It does have some stand-out moments and the general worldbuilding is pretty good but everything else around that is woefully substandard.

Traversing the world on your bike is surprisingly dull (don’t expect to fall off your bike or find any physics applied to this), while both the animation and general mechanics at play here leave a lot to be desired.  SEASON’s simplistic design is both its biggest selling point and its Achille’s heel.


SEASON: A Letter To The Future is available on Consoles and PCs worldwide 31st January 2023.

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  • Verdict - 5.5/10

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