Games have the power to make us feel and experience stories differently to any other medium. The interactivity delivers in a way that only playing a game can. Season: A letter to the future is a bicycle road trip of exploration and discovery.
The Last Breath of a Season
Developed by Scavengers Studio whose vision is to “Find intuitive and impactful ways to participate in interactive entertainment”, the game is the Montreal-based team’s second major project.
It arrives Jan 31st on PS5, PS4, Steam and Epic Games. There are no spoilers ahead in this review so you can go enjoy this adventure for yourself.
The game sees you take on the role of Estelle, a young woman leaving her secluded village home to explore the world. Being the first to leave your village in a generation, you travel by bicycle to a nearby location where a season is about to end. Your goal is to meet the people who live there, explore the lands and document this moment in time for the future.
Your home village acts as the games tutorial where you can take time to get used to game mechanics and features. This area also serves up your backstory and prepares you for the adventure ahead.
Anyone who has got caught up with photo modes in modern games knows how addictive it can get. Season takes this up a notch giving you not only the ability to take photos and record the sounds of anything you can see/hear but also gives you a blank journal to fill with the treasures you capture. You can also sketch (automated) landscapes you see or landmarks you find.
Exploration and documentation opens up the story giving you snippets of the puzzle as you search for answers to many questions. There are moments in the game where you are actively encouraged as a player in real life to participate. It’s really genius.
The story is paced and delivered brilliantly with a real sense of wonder and intrigue.
Graphics & Audio
Featuring a cell-shaded art style the visuals are gorgeous with some really stunning set pieces to enjoy throughout the adventure. The way these are set up and experienced really adds to the splendor of the journey you take.
The soundtrack aptly enhances the experience without ever being in your face. The world is brought to life with environmental sound effects. You will find yourself just stopping to listen and soak it all up.
A real standout here is the voice-over of Estelle narrating the story. It is delivered so eloquently and reminiscent of the brilliant performance of Sam in the critically acclaimed Gone Home. It’s really excellent.
There’s around 6-12 hrs here depending on how much you explore and how much of a rabbit hole you fall down filling the journal. My own journey took just over 8 hrs to complete.
A further playthrough making alternate choices may also deliver a different conclusion to the story, which I shall most definitely be trying.
With such fast paced lives these days, Season: A letter to the future reminds us to stop pedaling, get off our bike and take in the wonder and beauty of the world around us.
I think of it as the videogame equivalent of the spoken word song “Everybody’s Free” by Baz Luhrmann:
“Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.
The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself.“
It’s a beautifully engrossing adventure that will live with you long after the credits have rolled. Season: A letter to the future adds the Thumb Culture Platinum Award to it’s journal.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.