Winter is dead. Long live spring! Yup, spring has finally started to settle in around here, so thoughts have naturally turned from staying warm and video games to enjoying the warmer weather…and video games. Alright, so maybe the improved weather doesn’t change all that much after all, but it does have me wanting to see a bit more color and energy in my games right now. Yooka-Laylee will probably fit that quite nicely, but that won’t be an option until it finally arrives in the mail. So for now, how about we take a look at some of the best springtime levels already available to us?
(Video by YouTube channel: Nintendo64Movies)
Pop Star 1 – Kirby 64
Okay, so our first entry isn’t a true spring level, but it might as well be. It’s got everything a gamer could want in a springtime level: a sunny day in a flower filled meadow, several types of enemies to suck into Kirby’s black hole of a stomach, and one of the most cheery and upbeat themes to be found in any video game! Seriously, it’s hard to get enough of this theme. It’s fast, happy, bright, and oddly enough seems to encourage Kirby’s rampage as he makes his way towards King Dedede’s castle. Altogether, this stage delivers on the upbeat and exciting feeling one would expect from a springtime level, and that’s what we’re looking for here.
(Video by YouTube channel: GameStew)
Springtime – Animal Crossing (all versions)
It’s actually quite difficult to not to bring up Animal Crossing when talking about video game seasons and holidays. It’s more or less the quintessential game for these sorts of topics because, even after 16 years, there’s nothing else like it. The game doesn’t have a spring level, it just has spring! In later entries in particular, watching one’s town come to life as it transitions out of the winter cold is actually quite fun. Brown/white ground turns green. Flowers start dotting the landscape. New bugs show up to add to the museum collection. Trees turn from brown to green and even to pink during the April Cherry blossom festival! Spring arrives in full force in Animal Crossing and stays for the whole season (that is, unless one starts time traveling for the sake of summer BBQ).
(Video by YouTube channel: ZorZelda)
Click Clock Wood in Spring – Banjo-Kazooie
“Click Clock Wood” is the quintessential seasonal video game level; something that makes it special even to this very day. The amount of time and iteration it must have taken for Rare to get this level right must have been immense, and it shows. Click Clock Wood is a gigantic four-seasons puzzle that locks its most elusive jiggies behind entire (even multiple) season’s-worth of preparation, and it all starts with spring.
From the moment our bear and bird duo enter the stage, it’s clear that they’ve walked right into springtime. Everything one would expect to see is here: light rains, low grasses, leaf buds on the great tree and even a newly hatched baby bird. Environment design aside though, the star of this level has to be its music. It’s so fast and so toe-tappingly energetic that one cannot help but get swept away in the excitement and energy of the season! This may actually the only real flaw of Click Clock Wood. It opens so strongly with its spring section that the other sections wind feeling somewhat lacking. Spring does tend to have that effect though. The other seasons of the year are fun and all, but none can inspire excitement and enthusiasm the way spring can.
Gaming is filled with worlds and levels that embody one season or another, but spring isn’t that’s represented all that often (not deliberately anyway). It’s all well and good though right? As fun as it is to enjoy spring in the virtual space, perhaps it’s better to put down the controller every so often and go experience the real thing.
Well…at least until Yooka-Laylee gets here anyway.
What are your favorite springtime levels? What makes them feel like spring to you?
Image captured by Hatm0nster