Sometimes all you want from a video game is to relax, without necessarily having to face dangerous creatures ready to do the skin or intricate puzzles to be solved; Summer in mara allows you. The title, developed and published by Chibig, presented itself before our eyes as a good mix between Stardew Valley e Animal Crossing, but proving to be not very charismatic and never really managing to shine. In fact, in the end what we found ourselves playing, pad in hand, we could easily summarize it as a version of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker soulless, between barely sketched ideas and mtoo simplistic or cumbersome game eccanics, but let us explain.
A summer adventure
At the plot level, Summer in mara opens with a cutscene showing our protagonist, Koa, who is saved by what will become her adoptive mother: Yaya. The choice of having a little girl as a playable character is obviously perfect. He has a lot to learn, he always wants to help everyone but above all she is stubborn. Immediately after the initial cutscene, we can see our Koa sitting on the roof of his house, intent on admiring the sea. Once given a move input, it will move to and from here the adventure will begin.
As in any self-respecting game, there is no escape from the tutorial, so we will perform basic actions to please our godmother, who over time is no longer the age for certain things. Unfortunately, here already comes the time when we turned up our noses. The animations are repetitive and poorly linked; let's explain better. Imagine having to knock down a tree with an ax. Our protagonist will do it but the animation time is over it will remain stationary for a couple of seconds, before starting over. The feeling it leaves is not the best, because we will still have to keep holding the button down.
It would have been nicer to "hide it", maybe doing an animation where you see the little girl getting tired. Obviously, we will also have to take care of the small vegetable garden in front of our house, and for create all the tools necessary will need collect all the material we will need, and then enter the house, where a menu will open to perform different actions: cooking, sleeping, creating objects or pieces of objects.
After passed the entire tutorial (in a nutshell: once you have passed the "home" island), you will see a light in the middle of the ocean, which will awaken uncontrollable curiosity and the desire to travel by Koa. Our protagonist, in fact, will travel for understand what that light is and what is happening in the world around her. We will thus travel from island to island, discovering that our home is in danger because of a technological entity that wants to colonize the entire group of islands present in Mara. A great way to insert an environmental message within the title. But what ruins the experience proposed by the developers of Chibig?
One of the main problems of this game are the fetch quests, that is, those secondary missions in which you have to go from point A to point B and then return to A. The fact is that the materials to build something or to cook a meal to satisfy those who give us the quest can only be seen in the home menu . Then the fetch quests widen from two points to three, making them extremely slow and cumbersome. Mostly in case you don't have all the objects, the problem is that the only way to know is to go home, it is not possible to know before. Summer in Mara has a fast travel system, but only once we reach the first island (Qalis), a shortcut that will take us back to the place just mentioned, not home. So yeah you can cut your way but not enough.
Unfortunately, Summer in Mara is only enjoyable if you delete the main texture part. Because you can play it for hours, but only if you take it as a Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing, so if you like to go fishing and take care of the environment around you, you could get lost in those islands overnight, without realizing it. Even if it remains that huge frustration from fetch quests. Such a pity.
From a graphic point of view, the title does not excel, even if put to the maximum of his possibilities, some models appear too square and give a bad feeling to the eye, as the art plant appears cartoonish and light. Colors are a fundamental part of Summer in Mara, which uses particularly strong palettes own to underline the “cartoon” aspect of the production.
As regards, however, the audio sector, we can only say that we are pleasantly satisfied. The soundtrack is a great accompaniment to Koa's adventure, but also if you just want to take care of the land around us; is always in the right place at the right time. The only flaw is probably the sound effects, which they seem not to be original. Unfortunately, too, but only the English language.
A good game, but is it really worth it?
As always comes the moment that perhaps interests the most, is it worth it? The answer is neither yes nor no. It entirely depends on which one kind of player you are. If you like action, we don't recommend it, but if you are already used to works like Stardew Valley, then yes, it could be a great replacement, especially for the affordable price almost everyone. At the moment it is possible to buy the title on Steam with a 15% discount, from 21,99 euros to 18,69 euros, although for the content and form of the latter, it is perhaps too high.
Summer in Mara is a light adventure, relaxing, enjoyable. As is a summer adventure. It has funny moments as well as moments of reflection on the world around us, in fact, the title has a basic pseudo-environmental message that is not put in front of the player's eyes "to convince him", but it is integrated into the game perfectly. This can only be appreciable.