Summer in mara is an adventure game set on a series of tropical islands as you maintain your own farm and build your island over time whilst venturing out to other islands to complete quests for the inhabitants of a neighbouring land as well as explore and discover new fruits and recipe’s as well as more things to build and animals to look after on your own island.
The gameplay arc is geared towards the farming and island maintenance side so I would suggest that it’s designed to be played in small bursts where you do some island stuff, then go to the neighbouring hub island to get some quests and speak to the locals, then do some adventuring exploring new islands for a bit, and the cycle repeats with that as you unlock more quests to perform many of which involve farming supplies back on your island and then returning to hand in and gather new quests.
As you complete quests you are rewarded with new recipe’s and building structures to expand your islands features as well as boat upgrades which allows you to venture out further afield on the islands allowing you to discover more exotic fruits and resources to grow back on your own island.
With over 300 quests to complete and many being gated off to progression through previous quests it’s definitely not a game to be blasted out in one sitting, and you will be spending a lot of time farming and maintaining your island much in an animal crossing style gameplay, but rather than people moving into your island you will venture to theirs to chat to the locals and gather more things to build on your own land.
I’ve enjoyed the game and it’s a fun way of keeping you playing with more quests always providing something to do, and at times it would be nice to be able to grow some more veg plots in other places on the island, and when you’ve placed tree’s in the way you would like it at times I really don’t want to cut them down for wood (but you can always replant them)
The way you expand your island is also pretty clever as you have to build more wells to expand the number of trees you can plant, up to 100 though at times you may get a little carried away putting the wells by your farms in the only place they’re useful or hiding them in spots in the island you won’t see just to get more trees in, and while you gain better wells later you can’t really dismantle the ones you’ve already built (at time of print) so this would be a nice feature so you can tidy up a bit with nicer more efficient wells, as you also have to wait for it to rain to fill them up so having several is handy indeed.
There’s plenty to do in the game, a cute cast of characters and lots to explore as well as a lot of fun to be had just chilling out casually maintaining your island and building it up the way you want, obviously you will need to complete quests to gain a lot of the recipes to build what you might want to and towards the later half of the game it becomes harder to fulfil quests as many will be gated off to progression waiting for a boat upgrade and things being out of reach and slower between, but if you’re not blasting it out in one sitting and taking your time an hour or so a day casually chilling in the game I believe this is how it’s designed to be experienced and it’s a fun and enjoyable title with interesting gameplay showing that you can have an adventure game with a story without combat and it works perfectly well.
Outside of your island there are also a bunch of minigames like diving for treasure, fishing as well as the occasional boat race, and some interesting hints at events which may happen on some of the exploration isles during certain times of the day/night cycle. Which all adds to the feeling of adventure as you go exploring the different lands around you.
If you’re jealous of everyone playing animal crossing then this is the game for you as you get your own island to look after and maintain, it’s just a shame you can’t visit your friends islands and things like that (because space travel does exist in the game and perhaps a future expansion or sequel might involve interplanetary exploration) and it could be fun to fly over to each others islands and mess around and things like that, and perhaps even have interactive elements you could play together on like a seesaw seems fitting.
Get summer in mara for yourself on steam now at https://store.steampowered.com/app/962580/Summer_in_Mara/