The only place this game should spring is into the bin.
It’s Spring Again is an educational puzzle game developed by Baba Yaga Games and published by Sometimes You. Intended to teach children all about the seasons and the changes in weather that come with each one, the game is marketed as one which inspires “associational and logical thinking”, and can be experienced both as an interactive game and as a watchable cinematic.
In terms of its gameplay, It’s Spring Again is incredibly simplistic. As the seasons change, you are prompted to interact with various aspects of the on-screen scenery – including the trees, the sun, the animals and the flowers on the ground – and by doing so, progress the seasonal cycle. The game is an effective tool for children to identify and demonstrate the obvious physical impact of seasonal change, as they can clearly see and influence these changes on-screen – but it is certainly very limited in terms of the quality of the experience that it offers.
For a start, the game itself is incredibly short. As prior stated, you can choose to watch the entire game as a cinematic, and in doing so can witness the entire narrative in under five minutes. While this is a great concept in theory, as it gives players greater control over their gameplay experience, it exposes the game’s extreme lack of content. Even if experienced as an interactive game, there are very few interactions to actually partake in, and most are incredibly frustrating to trigger due to the awkward need to press the screen in exactly the right place. Worse still, there are no auditory or visual cues to remind you what you’re supposed to be doing if you miss them the first time – so the game then becomes “tap the screen everywhere, and hope you find the right place”.
This rage-inducing experience is made worse by the fact that touchscreen controls are the only ones available. You can’t turn to your trusty ABXY buttons for help, nor can you utilise the Switch’s tabletop and docked modes unless watching the game in its cinematic mode, and this is severely limiting in terms of how the game can be played. Although touchscreen controls are perhaps the most intuitive and interactive way for a child to play the game, they may alienate other gamers – such as those with disabilities. To me, it is surprising that Nintendo have allowed the game onto the eShop at all, given their pride in the versatility of the Switch.
Finally, It’s Spring Again suffers from incredibly repetitive and unrefined (nevermind creepy) graphics. The exact same scenery is repeated throughout every season, albeit with some colour changes, and most of the objects (i.e. the trees, the flowers) look like they’ve merely been resized and copy-pasted across the screen. Coupled with the fact that there are no accessibility options (including subtitles) in the game, It’s Spring Again demonstrates a thorough lack of care and creativity.
Overall, It’s Spring Again suffers from a lack of basic content, replayability and accessibility. The poor quality of the game is especially disappointing considering the fact that it draws so strongly from a popular children’s puppet show. If you’re looking to teach your children about the seasons, the cinematic tells the basics – but I would highly recommend seeking out alternative resources instead.