June 15, 2004

[floatleft][/floatleft]I was recently contacted by someone at Sugar Games about reviewing their latest release and aside from the long list of games I have to write about, there wasn’t much going on so I obliged. If you aren’t familiar with Sugar Games, they release many PC based puzzle games similar to what Pop-Cap games does. Typically these games are highly addictive and quickly become an obsession.

What I like about many of these short puzzle games is that you can play a game in under 5 minutes so its not a daunting task to play a round or two. They are also typically very simple in concept and Seasons is no exception.

[floatright][/floatright]The concept of Seasons is based on the 4 seasons, or 2 seasons if you live in Texas like I do. There is an icon that corresponds to each season: a snowflake for winter, a leaf for spring, a sun for summer, a pear for autumn. Since the seasons in order go from Winter to Spring to Summer to Autumn and back to Winter, likewise these icons/tiles can only change in that order. The playing area in Seasons is filled with tiles each bearing one of the icons that corresponds to a season. It is your job to create vertical and horizontal rows of 3 or more matching tiles. You do this by flipping a single tile. A row of 2 leaf tiles and 1 snowflake tile would allow you to click the snowflake tile and flip it into a leaf. This would create 3 matching leaf tiles, make them disappear, and increase your score. If you happen to click a tile that doesn’t result in a 3+ match you are docked points and the tile does not flip. At any given time Seasons lets you know the number of available moves on the board and it is your job to make sure your next move doesn’t eliminate all of your possible moves or the game is over.

There are 2 different game types that you puzzle game junkies may be familiar with: Action and Puzzle. Puzzle allows you to continue playing until there are no more available moves on the board. As you play, the board has less and less tiles. At certain points, additional tiles fall onto the board creating more moves for you to choose from. As you would expect, matches with a higher number of tiles involved result in more points. A Puzzle game is over when you no longer have any tiles you can flip to create a 3 tile match. I highly recommend playing a few games of Puzzle to get the hang of the game since it can be difficult at first to spot tiles to flip. The second gametype is Action. Action is a time based game. You have a short amount of time to make each move. When a move is made and tiles are removed, additional tiles fill their spaces so the board is always full. Each move doesn’t reset the full timer so you have to have fast eyes to make sure you have a string of moves lined up way in advance. My high score on Action is actually more than double what it is on Puzzle and I was highly surprised because Action stressed me out so much and about gave me a heart attack.

Dots and I spent some time playing Seasons together and we really enjoyed it. She used to spend a lot of time playing Noah’s Ark and I know she loves puzzle games so I knew this one would be up her alley, but I honestly didn’t expect to enjoy it. Seasons is a different twist to the same style of puzzle game you have probably seen before and it is definitely worth the time you spend playing it. At $15, it borders on overpriced, but for a puzzle game fanatic it may be the next great addiction.