The seasonal year in indie games

Plus a spooky bit on the side.

As Fall drifts slowly into Winter once more, we’ve begun to eagerly anticipate the coming of Halloween and the warm fires of the year’s coldest months. To celebrate this seasonal transformation, we’ve picked out the indie games that best capture the spirit of each season, and once again shows the diverse world that gaming has become.

Spring

Spring is a time of revival as the world wakes up from its Winter slumber. Hohokum encapsulates this essence, and much like the birdsong and blossom outside, its world is filled with vibrant colours and sounds which burst into life as you pass. As a one-eyed, snake-like creature, you’re given no direction, instead left to prod at the world with only your curiosity to guide you. Circles light up, plants bloom open, partygoers hitch a ride and at one point you’ll even serve drinks at a wedding. Lovely.

Summer

All across the world, Summer sees young adults head on journeys of discovery with their friends. Learning what it means to be an adult by building campfires and skinny dipping in the dark before being attacked by a machete-wielding, vengeful wraith of a drowned child. Nothing builds team character like the presence of and otherworldly, murderous threat to escape from. Malignant spectres are few and far between in reality, but fortunately the last couple of years have seen the release of both Friday the 13th: The Game and Dead by Daylight, practically spoiling us for choice.

Summer evenings offer the perfect chance to hide for your life, and really let you find out which of your friends you hope get taken instead of you. There’s not much between either game here, so it’s really down to your group’s preference for baddy. If the thought of summer camp drives incandescent with rage, not to worry, as both games will let you release that inner fury by brutally murdering your friends or a group of strangers.

Fall/Autumn

Fall is a beautiful time, best spent contemplating life on long walks through the shifting hues of trees and flora. Surrounded by nature, the efforts of squirrels and other woodland creatures to prepare for winter should not go unnoticed, and will help remind you that, at the end of the day, hard work and money are what pay the bills.

Stardew Valley’s glorious pixel countryside is resplendent, but tending to crops and feeding your chickens requires toil and hours of back-breaking labour to earn you that moolah. In the end, no matter where you’ve run, you’ll never escape the clutches of the capitalist machine as you cave to the MegaCorp shopping hell of Jojamart. Embrace the corporate apocalypse and buy a membership to demolish the town’s community centre, replacing it with a shiny new warehouse. After all, life’s better with Joja.

What’s that, something else terrifying happens this time of year? Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about...

Halloween

Unquestionably the spookiest time of year, Halloween lets loose demons, ghouls and ghosts to roam the streets. In fact, we find Halloween so scary that we’d advise staying inside altogether and keeping those curtains shut for fear of accidentally spying a rather intimidating pumpkin. Thankfully, videogames are the perfect distraction to get you through these trying times.

To escape the terrors outside, we suggest Layers of Fear, a heartwarming tale of a man overcoming past trauma through the medium of painting. Putting brush to canvas, you’ll slowly discover that working on your masterpiece will bring about changes not just in yourself, but to the world around you — often in delightful ways you simply won’t see coming!

Winter

Rounding out the year, the harsh cold of Winter forces everyone indoors and into close contact with friends and family. While it’s lovely to be near to the ones we love, this level of proximity results in the easy transmission of illnesses, eventually turning everyone into a nose-running, sniffling mess of cold and flu. No game embodies the gloopy mess of a cold-filled month better than Slime Rancher.

Stake your claim in the slime-wranglin’ business on a distant world, raising and mating adorable blobs of every colour imaginable. As entrepreneur Beatrix LeBeau, you’ll have to protect your gormless livestock by building a farm as nurturing and appealing to slimes as your body is to the cold virus wreaking havoc there while you play. Delightfully simple, you may even be able to concentrate on its pastel colors through your medicine-dosed haze.

Associate Editor

Henry Stenhouse serves an eternal punishment as the Associate Editor of AllGamers. He spent his younger life studying the laws of physics, even going so far as to complete a PhD in the subject before video game journalism stole his soul. Confess your love of Super Smash Bros. via email at henry.stenhouse@allgamers.com, or catch him on Twitter.

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