Backlogged: Summer In Mara

Platform: PC

Time to Finish: 25.6 hours

After I finished up Yonder I was looking for a similar game to play. Prideful Sloth has another game called Grow and while it looked interesting it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. So it was off to the internet to see what other people were recommending. I kept coming across recommendations for Summer at Mara. It had no combat, a vibrant art style, some farming, some exploration, and a lot of fetch quests. Sounds like Yonder to me!

Summer at Mara just happened to be on sale at the time I was looking for something new to play. I thought about waiting for the Steam Summer Sale but $10 was a good price point for me. It helped that it was bundled with the OST and one of their other games, Deiland, which is Deck verified.

Things I Liked:

Story: Unlike Yonder, Summer at Mara’s quests are much more story heavy. There is a main story which revolves around the main character, Koa.

Koa, lives on an island in the middle of the ocean with her grandmother where they run a little farm together and take care of the island. Unfortunately, after the tutorial, Koa’s grandmother passes and she’s left alone on the island. She repairs her grandmother’s old boat and sets off to explore the rest of Mara.

There’s a whole host of supporting characters along the way. Each have their own sub plots and lengthy quest lines that intermingle with one another. I found these side quests much more interesting than the main story line and loved seeing all the characters interact with one another.

Quests: There’s just something about this that tickles my brain in all the right ways. This is another game full of fetch quests. You’re either bringing an item from one character to another, growing or crafting items a character needs, or going out and finding someone who sells the needed item. I found myself saying I’ll just do one more quest before I save for the night..over and over again.

Exploration: The exploration aspect of this game is done just right. At first you’re only able to sail to a few islands around the main town. As the story progresses you’re given the opportunity to upgrade the boat which opens up a bit more of the map. There are a few quests that can’t be completed until you find the right crafting material so every time I unlocked more locations I had a reason to visit each one to find the right items.

The map isn’t that large either. It never felt like a pain to get from one end to the other once I unlocked all of the locations. Once I built up enough money I was able to use the fast travel system to get around even faster. This is more of a convenience than a necessity and I would have been fine without it.

Summer Vibes: The colorful graphics, the island settings, the music, and the writing all make this game feel like a summer vacation. It’s so bright and cozy. The perfect game to play for the summer and probably even better to play in the winter.

The Flow: The more I got in to this game the more I started to developed a routine for each day. Summer in Mara has an energy and time which work together to limit how much you can do in a day. My daily routine was to harvest crops that were ready, plant new ones and water them, feed the animals, set out to the main town, Qälis, to buy more seeds and sell items as needed, run around doing quests until about 17:00, then return home to feed the animals again, craft anything needed for quests, and sleep.

Things That Could Have Been Better:

Controller Support: This seemed like it would be a good game to play with a controller. I was playing with an Xbox One controller until I unlocked the boat. When I got in the boat I was pretty confused why I couldn’t get the boat to move. Up until then, everything had been working flawlessly. As it turns out, the right bumper is suppose to be the button to sprint and accelerate. I wasn’t aware that there was even a sprint option until that point.

Apparently the fix is to start the game and then connect the controller via Bluetooth. Unfortunately, my computer doesn’t have a Bluetooth receiver. At least the keyboard and mouse controls weren’t bad.

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