There have been an incalculable number of games that have tried to emulate the magic of The Legend of Zelda games—very few have ever come close. Ary and the Secret of Seasons undoubtedly owes a lot to The Legend of Zelda as well; the more and more you play it, the more you come to find that Ary has undeniably and indisputably carved out her own legend.
Ary and the Secret of Seasons is a vast game that just begs to be explored. The world of Valdi and its colourful cast of characters are bursting with life, in ways that games of the same genre often fail to accomplish. The expansive world is rich with detail and you will no doubt find yourself wanting to inspect every nook and cranny. The main hook of the game is Ary’s season-changing abilities, which adds an even deeper layer to the world—as each season can open different paths and place a different perspective on each location.
Speaking of the season-altering abilities of our heroine, Ary, it hearkens back to Game Boy Color’s The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons. Much like that game, the player must alter the seasons in order to solve puzzles and manipulate the environment to progress further in the game. For those who played Oracle of Seasons, you will no doubt feel as though you are playing a fully 3D realisation of the concepts and ideas of that game, and the fact that Ary and the Secret of Seasons pulls off these mechanics so well is a testament to developers Exiin and Fishing Cactus.
The plot of the game is very Disney-esque to say the least—exploring similar themes to that of the film Mulan—what with Ary having to disguise as her brother in order to set out on her quest. Ary’s missing brother, Flynn, proves to be the main mystery that drives the plot forward. While Ary is ultimately tasked with restoring the seasons to Valdi in the right manner, it is her personal quest to find out what happened to her brother that gives the story its emotional crux. As you progress through the game, you will no doubt grow to love Ary and be truly invested in her journey. She may very well be one of the best new characters in gaming, in this writer’s estimation.
Overall, Ary and the Secret of Seasons takes The Legend of Zelda formula that we know and love and reinvents the wheel just enough to make it one of the best entries into the long line of Zelda-esque titles. Unlike Link in The Legend of Zelda, Ary is a fully fleshed out character with dialogue and purpose. While in the Zelda series you effectively are Link, Secret of Seasons lets you follow the journey of a fully realized character in Ary. If that is something that you are looking for, then Ary and the Secret of Seasons is for you.
I had a lot of fun playing this game and I really think just about anyone will if they give it the chance. I have no doubt that Ary and the vibrant world of Valdi will charm you every bit as much as it did to me.