The breeze hitting your face, the noise of the ocean waves, the smell of wet sand, the blinding sun … It is summer, also in video games thanks to contributions such as Summer in Mara, an indie made entirely in Spain that offers us relax and enjoy. Gets it? We tell you in our analysis.
You are the kind of patient gamer who doesn”t mind spending time in the game to see how it progresses, even though it doesn”t quite convince you at first. It doesn”t particularly bother you that the action takes a back seat, and in fact you appreciate a bit of peace, just planting in your garden, getting seeds and building on your own island. You are also not frustrated by a sometimes confusing design, which riddles you with tasks that are not always stimulating, with some bugs in between and a very improvable finish in almost all its plots.
If I have just described a profile similar to the one you may have, I think summer in Mara is an alternative to your particular 2020 summer catalog. Unfortunately, this was not the case for me. I got bored going from one place to another doing errands within a game with very interesting ideas, but an irregular execution. However, I respect you to the maximum. The Spanish developers of Chibig managed to carry out a Kickstarter with the support of almost 10,000 people totally dedicated and eager to receive the title. That is always praiseworthy, and for me it is an achievement that has generated some expectation.
It was not an easy development, with a delay in between and a small group: less than ten workers. Of course, with experience. The Valencian Chibig had already worked on Deiland, a similar video game in concept, consisting of putting sandbox, crafting, construction and agricultural simulation in the same bag. Something similar to what happens in Summer in Mara, only here in a world spread over several islands, a lot of boat travel and some characters that seem to have been taken from an anime. It does not seem like a bad game, it can be enjoyed, although there are many frustrations that you could find in a retreat that promised to be more pleasant.
A relaxed adventure
Perhaps what I liked most about summer in Mara is precisely what you can do on your island. Time passes, you watch the hours go by and both your hunger and your resistance diminish until you go to sleep or eat something. The trees you plant and the crops you care for require patience, in a slow but continuous process. You notice the flow of life, how the orange trees replenish their fruits and even how the minerals reappear after a time to be exploited again.
Taking a tour of the island to collect conches, fish, cut trees or discover some other secret is what I most wanted. You place some pine trees and they stay there forever, creating a personalized home. The problem comes when you have to go out looking for more materials, because your land is limited. Then you fill the fuel tank of your ship and set sail for new territories: you come and go again and again fulfilling a series of errands that most of the time consist of going from one character to another. Funny? I did not think so.
The game boasts of having more than 100 quests and about twenty characters to talk to. Okay, but I think the numbers didn”t matter as much here as creating an addictive and rewarding experience. Despite the feeling of global appeasement, a game is also challenging, but I haven”t experienced it. Neither evolution. Although you can improve your ship, there are a lot of items to trade and you can customize your protagonist, I have had a certain feeling of emptiness.
It was not because of history, which is not bad. Koa is a 12-year-old girl who lives on a remote island until one fine day – due to the fate of fate that we won”t specify – she is pushed to go out in search of adventure. There is a secret related to a mysterious door, in addition to an evil corporation that tries to exploit the resources of the Mara Ocean. The game has a certain ecological, defense of nature tone: one of the tasks is to recycle (and they give you points). It is commendable, although not so much the fact that in the end the argument is not as present as might be expected.
I liked the 2D kinematics that sometimes appear, as well as generally the designs used to illustrate conversations. In the 3D plane the game does not shine as much. Conceptually it is a very nice game, but I have the feeling that some of the magic has been lost when applied on a three-dimensional canvas. It could be because the models are not detailed enough, but also because the animations – without being mediocre – have not convinced me. Again, it seemed too much work for so few people, but the only thing I can do from here is to tell you what I have found, and this is that I have been disappointed to find that the visual representation is somewhat far from what they promised. The original screenshots. Tested on PC, I also have to say that the optimization is not the best, and it will be desirable that you have the recommended team (Intel Core i5 and GTX 660) to choose the highest quality without going to jerks. There are three options in total, and the variation is notable between them, mainly due to the use of smoothing and lighting effects.
Music is perhaps the section of which I can least complain. Soft melodies, perfect to accompany us on our adventure, always having in the background the ambient sound of nature. Coupled with the day-night cycle and the presence of weather events such as rain, the game transports you to a pleasant environment. Summer in Mara has some very good things, albeit largely buried by a handful of major frustrations both playable and technical.
It has been difficult for me to carry out the tasks that were asked of me, because I did not see the fun, and technically I have not finished enjoying it because the feeling was that it lacked polishing work. However, you always have to keep what is good, and it would be a shame to put aside the important message that this video game sends us: that of merging with the environment, being one with the beauty that surrounds us and enjoying the moment, even if cultivating some lettuces. That the game achieves … and has its merit.
Summer in Mara fulfills its objective of assuming a calm adventure, in which the focus is on taking care of your island, while talking to various characters and completing a number of tasks. The problem is that fun is hard to come by, becoming a monotonous game, with a feeling of insufficient progression and production values that really stand out for the artistic side, which unfortunately does not do it justice technically. I have the personal conviction that the game aimed high, but that it stayed halfway to its intentions for various reasons. Even so, if you take all this into account and want to try it, you will discover a fantastic message in favor of life and nature.
- Inspirational and vibrant art section, reflecting the joy of adventure
- Tone and message in favor of life and nature
- Island management and customization
- Boring mechanics in the medium and long term, little sense of progression
- Many tasks to accomplish, but most of them uninteresting
- Technically irregular, with modeling and animations requiring more work
- Duration:20-25 hours
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