Some games capture the spirit of this verdant time of year in a way that can’t be matched. The April blossoms, holiday weekend, and unusually warm weather has me thinking of some of my favorite spring time games.
The winter should be the best time to sit inside glued to an LCD screen, but I’ve always found a cool breeze coming in through the window does more to help set my mind at ease and make me feel less guilty about blowing hours in an imaginary dungeon or collecting weird elemental creatures inside plastic balls. Instead of pushing me outside, the nicer weather gets me pining for the colorful, nature-loving games of my youth.
There was Secret of Mana, Square Enix’s answer to The Legend of Zelda which traded a cohesive overworld with secrets and puzzles for the numbers and menues of a conventional RPG. The monster designs basically took woodland creatures and transformed them into vicious sprites. What if instead of a rabbit it was a rabite! It even had an entire location dedicated to each of the four seasons. It was infinitely harder to go outside knowing it would never look quite like this.
Of course, while Secret of Mana remains a personal favorite, a game I can return to again and again, like meditation almost, taking solace in methodically chopping through its forests, deserts, and water temples, it’s by no means the only spring classic.
Super Mario Bros. 2 is an epic adventure that revolves around weeding dreamlike gardens. Tomba! depicts the colorful breakdown of a grandkid bullied by pigs as he cracks open eggs and treasure chest for strange loot. Then of course there’s Flower, the definitive Nature Game, and the Pikmin series, which take an old man’s idle daydream about alien plants and runs with it.
A few more honorable mentions: Proteus, Patapon, Stardew Valley, and Pokemon Green Leaf (there has never been a better or more stalwart starter than the little green dinosaur with a parasitic tulip on its back).
What about you? What games define this time of year and keep you?