Summer In Mara Review
Available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC
Version tested: PC
Summer In Mara looks to be one of them games you can just lose yourself in and chill out playing, nice colourful visuals and relaxing gameplay could be just what we need in this locked down stressful time we are all in.
Orphan and main character Koa has to deal with a pretty traumatic upbringing, firstly not having any parents and then to make things even worse losing her adopted grandmother leaving her alone to fend for herself once more.
Koa will then need to rebuild and make the island that she lived on a more workable state, with her adopted grandmother no longer around it will be up to you to get the island back up to scratch by building shelters for animals to live in, planting trees for wood as well as harvesting the food she will need to survive unless you are just going to constantly catch fish.
Scattered around the island will be different resources that will need to be mined to acquire that said resource but this will first require the correct tool and then you will need to make sure Koa is rested and well-fed. Sleeping will refill her stamina bar and eating will refill the hunger and these two are the main survival aspect of the whole game.
The stamina bar does decrease fairly quickly and you will need to make sure Koa has had her rest to complete all her jobs around the island, cutting trees and planting different things will all cost stamina and slowly wear Koa down as she works to keep the island in liveable condition. The stamina bar can be seen clearly at the top left of the screen as well as the hunger rating which is divided into apples each one a separate bar of hunger.
While it is a survival aspect of the game Summer In Mara doesn’t rely too much on it and it is very simple and intuitive. It can get in the way a little at first but once you get the hang of keeping both topped it’s very easy to keep control of.
Feeding Koa isn’t the only task on the island once you start getting animals as they will need to be fed as well as watering the plants and trees.
Crafting is also very simple and everytime you unlock a new recipe is will tell you exactly what is needed to make the items you are trying to craft. Materials are easy enough to find and as you progress through the game leaving the island frees up more resources on other islands.
Leaving the island won’t happen straight away but it isn’t long into the game before you are travelling the seas! On the water, it really reminded me of the Windwaker as do the visuals in the game. The visuals throughout are really nice, very bright and colourful while having a nice art style with plenty of detail and creativity.
Summer In Mara does really feel like it is aimed at the younger audience but at the same time, there is still something fun for us old gamers as well! The gameplay and crafting are simple and easy for younger players to pick up as is the story in which younger players will really appreciate. Some voice acting would have been nice for the younger audience though as there can be a fair bit of reading.
Upgrading your boat will be one of your main desires while exploring and it will take plenty of resource farming and selling items to get it done but it does add a nice aspect to the game.
Using the boat to visit other islands adds a lot to Summer In Mara and islands scattered around the sea have different types of characters, humans and other species for you to interact. All have different personalities and some give quests and actually affect your adventure in the story.
The sounds are relaxing and chilled out when it comes to music, there isn’t any voice acting aside from the odd laugh or grunt during the captions on-screen. When it comes to sound Summer In Mara is just a very chilled out experience.
I played through the game with a mouse and keyboard and it worked pretty flawlessly, actions were responsive the key mapping is intuitive and easy to use throughout the whole game.
Summer In Mara is a very chilled and relaxing experience, probably what we all need at the moment! The gameplay is simple and probably aimed more towards the younger audience but there is still plenty to do for older gamers if they choose to play. The crafting system is simple and progression by unlocking different recipes constantly added new items that can be used. Visually the game looks really nice with plenty of detail and bright colours, reminds me of the Windwaker from years ago. There is no real push to get you to do anything during your time playing and you can chill and do things at your own pace and this is what helps make Summer In Mara is a very chilled experience, building the island up and filling it with life gives a real sense of achievement, if you like games like Animal Crossing then Summer In Mara might just be worth a go.
6.9 / 10
Code was provided free of charge for my honest unbiased review.
Summer In Mara
- Nice visuals with Windwaker type art-style
- Simplistic crafting and gameplay
- Chilled experience with plenty to do
- Story wasn't the best but moving enough especially for a younger audience
- Some gamers will find it a little childish
- Can be a bit of a grind getting resources
- Voice acting would have been nice