Season: A Letter to the future is quite the departure from Scavenger Studio’s debut title, The Darwin Project. This narrative-driven adventure puts story and emotion at its forefront, with gameplay systems complementing those aspects. I had a pleasant time strolling through the beautiful world of Season: A Letter to the future, taking in all its beauty ahead of a cataclysmic event.
Letters from no one
In Season: A Letter to the future, players take on the role of a young woman who leaves home to embark on a personal journey. There is a pending cataclysm, one that will wipe away much of the world as we know it. Prior to that world-changing event, the woman is looking to collect memories, recording them in her journal as a way to preserve them for the future. Throughout that journey, players meet interesting characters as they piece together information about the world at large.
I love how heavily Season leans into its narrative and storytelling. The game is filled with quiet moments, ones where you converse with NPCs, learning everything there is to know about them, both the fascinating and mundane. They have unique motivations and origins; I enjoyed learning about the different people that make up the world. Each character is fully voice-acted, with impressive performances throughout. It really adds to the authenticity of every character.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Season’s gameplay revolves around the protagonist collecting and preserving memories. These memories come in the form of pictures, recordings, and writing. You can stop to photograph the environment, as well as any creature or person. I found myself frequently stopping to snap a shot of beautiful areas, which Season has no shortage of. The camera settings allowed me to change the filter and adjust the focus distance of my pictures.
With a microphone, players can record the sounds of their environment. This not only spotlights the game’s terrific audio design but also makes fun use of the PlayStation’s DualSense controller. There are unique vibrations for the different sounds in the game. Players will also collect letters that they find during their travels. You’re free to add these items to your journal as you choose, changing their size, rotating them, and moving them around. It made the journal feel unique to my personal adventure in Season.
The developers do an excellent job at world-building through environmental design. In every area, there are loads of optional interactions, whether it be taking a closer look at a painting or inspecting a children’s toy. In most cases, you’ll learn additional information about the world and the people in it. I found myself making a point to interact with my surroundings when given the opportunity.
As players explore the world, they’ll do so on the back of their bicycles. You can push the bike along, ride on it, and park it as you explore the environment on foot. While I enjoyed exploring the world in Season, I found the movement to be a bit clunky. Notably, using the bike in certain environments, and the process of parking it and getting back on.
The art of life
Where Season: A Letter to the future truly excels is in its visual and sound design. The game feels like an interactive painting, with just about every still looking like something you could screenshot and set as your desktop wallpaper. This is achieved through Season’s unique art design and use of color. It’s awesome that the visuals play directly into the story and gameplay of Season. You’re exploring this beautiful world before a major cataclysm, and doing your best to document it. Getting to immortalize those fleeting moments of beauty in my journal always felt impactful and moving.
The sound design in Season is superb. Human senses are a motif throughout the journey, and sound is arguably the most prominent in Season. The sounds of chirping birds, whistling wind, and rainfall make the world feel alive and add to the immersion during exploration. The music itself is serene and almost omnipotent in a way. It feels like there’s always music playing in Season. Sometimes, it’s a catchy song playing on the radio, or a soothing tune to accompany you on those long bike rides.
One for the road
Season: A Letter to the future feels like the perfect antidote for someone that’s grown a bit tired of epic, action-heavy adventure games. Scavengers Studio delivers an adventure game that’s warm and peaceful, but still fulfilling and thought-provoking. Although the movement controls can feel a bit clunky, Season: A Letter to the future is an easy recommendation.
This review is based on a digital Steam code provided by the publisher. Season: A letter to the future is available now on PC and PS5.
Season: A Letter to the future
- Stunning art design
- Thought-provoking narrative
- Emotionally unique characters
- Cleverly integrates art and music into gameplay
- Movement feels clunky