Summer in Mara Review
Summer in Mara is an adventure simulation indie game for the Nintendo Switch (also PC, and later, Xbox One and PlayStation 4). It wants to be Harvest Moon with a mix of Wind Waker and its own unique story. The question is…does it succeed? Is Summer in Mara a good game? Let’s find out in this review of Summer in Mara for the Nintendo Switch!
Summer in Mara wants to be a great game. Its graphics and game play have a charm about it that want to pull you in. The game is half Harvest Moon and half a non-combat Wind Waker. The problem is that the charm only gets it so far. Summer in Mara isn’t a bad game but it has a lot of problems.
The game has a split identity. It wants you to explore but oh no, you need to eat and rest. It wants you to farm but wait, you have to explore to find more things to plant. And worst of all, it has fetch quests. It has a lot of fetch quests.
The fetch quests in Summer in Mara are frustrating because the game will send you to go get something….but wait, you must get this other thing first. Endlessly, you are running around trying to do favors for various people. And when you think you’re done, here comes another fetch quest!
Summer in Mara doesn’t offer much freedom. Its an open world that is more worried about fetching or planting stuff then letting you do your own thing. The game also doesn’t always tell you where you need to go. Sometimes it just gives you an hint – good luck figuring things out.
Then there’s other things that should be fun, like swimming, sailing, and diving. All of these are limited by swimming stamina, fuel, or air. The game just won’t give you any kind of break. Freedom, unfortunately, is an illusion in Summer in Mara.
Control wise, the game seems fine. Farming is like Harvest Moon. There are simple button presses to action commands, and everything works on a plant, water, harvest mechanic that farming simulation fans should be pretty knowledgeable about now. The boat controls, walking around, swimming, diving, etc are fine. There’s something strange going on with the jumping in this game though. You jump way too high, which is OK, but a bit odd considering the rest of the game, and the games it attempt to emulate. This isn’t a Mario game.
And then there is Summer in Mara’s graphics, which are not bad but not as good as one would hope.
Summer in Mara’s graphics are alright. The characters are pretty detailed but the environments your character explores are too simple looking. There are also some weird graphical glitches, like the trees changing shapes the closer you get to them. The best part of the graphics are the animated cut scenes, which are absolutely beautiful.
I do think the game’s music is really good but there isn’t much of it. You hear the same tunes over and over. And the music stops suddenly and then starts suddenly again at odd times. There are barely any sound effects in the game.
Summer in Mara is a pretty rough game but there is an interesting experience hidden underneath it all. With a few updates, the game play cycle could be drastically improved, owing this title a second look and a brand new score.
Summer in Mara is a charming game at times. Its characters and its story are interesting. Its world wants to be interesting. Its identity crisis, torn between Wind Waker and Harvest Moon, just doesn’t work that well. This is not a bad game. Its actually a good game that could have been so much better. While we may have picked on the follies present throughout the experience, there is still plenty of charm here that will allow many farming simulation fans to overlook the negatives. For me, however, it just wasn’t enough.
There will be some people who will love this game. They’ll be able to deal with the fetch quests and love the exploring/farming aspects. A good game is hiding in Summer in Mara. I’m sure someone will find it.
A digital code was provided for this review. Summer in Mara will be out tomorrow (6/16) the Nintendo Switch eshop.