Summertime Madness (XSX) Review with stream
Brilliant use of color and makes the player feel like they are navigating an abstract painting
Using a time limit as a gameplay element is unique but can cause some heightened anxiety
Some puzzles require a bit too much trial and error
Invisible walls can take the player out of the experience at times
Ambient music is the right approach but there just isn’t much of it
A single player first person puzzle game, Summertime Madness is a walking simulator and has similar gameplay to In Rays Of The Light, another Sometimes You published title. Without a UI or any direction on what to do, the landscape subtly guides the player on where to go next, creating a memorable experience.
There is no combat, no way to die, and no jump feature. Instead, the player can sprint to make long stretches more tolerable to navigate, and use an action button usually assigned to basic tasks like flipping switches. The entire experience revolves around environmental problem solving from an abstract visual style.
During WWII, a painter created vivid works of art as a way to escape the horrors around him. One day, a mysterious man approached the painter and offered a rather odd deal. The painter would be allowed to enter one of his paintings to temporarily escape the horrors of war but would have a strict time limit in which to find a way out or his soul will be trapped forever. For some nonsensical reason, he agrees and now the player has to escape or be imprisoned. This is a very odd plot point because no one would agree to something like this. You can’t even enjoy your time in your whimsical painting if you have to worry about escaping or be locked in limbo for all of time. Weird.
The star of the show is clearly the painted art style that sort of looks like a cross between RiME and Zelda: Skyward Sword. Everything is displayed with a beautiful color scheme and abstract elements. For example, you’ll be walking on a hill when a massive hand holding a clock erects from the ground. Pull that lever and watch a ship’s mast grow from nothing. Each landscape is more eye-catching than the last and should please fans of games like Journey. Unfortunately, invisible walls can be a little distracting from the overall experience.
From a gameplay standpoint, there is no indication on what to do, where to go, or how to do it. However, the visual story telling suggests to the player “see that thing in the background, you might want to go there and check it out” whenever you’re about to feel lost. When you get there, each puzzle mostly revolves around flipping switches in a certain order or moving in a specific pattern. Most puzzles require a lot of trial and error and can be a little frustrating at times. For example, an early puzzle requires moving platforms in a certain position to reach the other side. I knew what I was supposed to do but it just took me forever to actually figure out. This is one of those games that once you play through it once, you’ll be able to fly to the end in a short amount of time. In fact, one Achievement is finish the game in under 1 hour but will take a few playthroughs to reach this mastery.
Summertime Madness is a walking simulator filled with environmental puzzles that can be sometimes tedious to solve. Visually, the use of color is outstanding and the parts of the environment and gameplay are pulled from abstract paintings, literally. It is a game that isn’t for everyone but those with an open mind and a higher degree of patience will enjoy a weekend’s worth of this obscure digital download.
Also available on Xbox One, PS4, PS5, and Switch.
Also Try: Myst
Don’t Forget About: The Witness
Wait For It: Firewatch 2
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
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