Summer In Mara is the latest addition to game development studio Chibig’s library – a single-player adventure in which players play as Koa, a bright-eyed eleven-year-old girl who was shipwrecked as a baby and now lives happily with her grandmother, Yaya Haku, on the planet Qü. Mara, the ocean, gives life to Qü’s islands and people, but the sinister Elit corporation seeks to capture and exploit Mara’s resources for themselves – and it’s up to Koa to stop them.
The project was first released on Kickstarter in February of 2019 and was quickly backed by 9,523 backers, raising a whopping 233,919 euros (the equivalent of $263093) with a 20,000 euro goal. It went into pre-launch on June 12, and launched on Windows, Mac, and Nintendo Switch on June 16, with a PlayStation and Xbox release planned later in the year. Described by the creators as a “game about farming and crafting, with an easy-RPG system and exploration elements”, it harkens back to the relaxed play style of titles like Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon.
You can farm, swim, fish and craft new tools to tend to your own island, or take to the seas and explore new islands, trading and meeting new people all the while. Hands down though, the most appealing part of Summer In Mara is its art style – the world is vibrant and lush, whether you’re exploring the world’s fauna or diving deep into its oceans. There’s no shortage of cute critters either – and the game has a breeding system where you can combine your favorite animal patterns into adorable hybrids.
The game has many different sources of inspiration, with the developers noting on the game’s Kickstarter page, “The game is inspired by the exploration in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, the farming in Stardew Valley, the visual aspect of Studio Ghibli’s movies and the adventure feeling of your childhood summers.” Summer In Mara is part of the Deiland universe – Deiland is another game by Chibig that was launched on the PlayStation 4 and Steam back in 2018 – but Summer In Mara is an “independent and unique adventure with its own story.”
Summer In Mara is currently available on Nintendo Switch and Steam – you can check it out here.