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Five games to make your summer last a little longer

Translation: Patrik Stainbrook

Not in the mood for autumn and bad weather? Then try out the following five games to continue enjoying that summer feeling. At least virtually.

The days are getting shorter, the sky greyer and leaves are starting to fall. Autumn has arrived as I wistfully think back to my beach vacations. Thankfully, these five games perfectly capture the magic of summer, virtually transporting you back to a time of sunshine, beach visits and good vibes.

«Shin Chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation»

Who still remembers Shin Chan? The cult anime ran throughout the early noughties, enjoying wide popularity, not least because of its crude humour. While the series continued successfully in Japan, hype surrounding the little tyke slowly waned over here.

During a Nintendo Direct Livestream last year, a new game in the series was announced – unfortunately only for Japan. But despite the little rascal’s long absence, fans around the globe directed complaints toward the publisher and lobbied for a release in the West. And lo and behold, about a year after its release in Japan, European and American fans will also be able to enjoy this unique game.

It can best be described as a vacation simulator. Playing as five-year-old Shinnosuke Nohara, you spend seven days on a summer holiday somewhere in the Japanese hinterlands. Your goal? To have as much fun as possible!

You can catch insects, fish, play with your friends, plant vegetables, and report on exciting happenings in the village as a reporter for the local newspaper. And did I mention that there are dinosaurs in the game? If you like relaxing games such as Animal Crossing, you should definitely give Shin Chan a chance.

Available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PC.

«A Short Hike»

In «A Short Hike», you take on the role of a small, anthropomorphic bird spending its summer vacation on Hawk Peak Island. But paradise island has one drawback: aside from the highest mountain peak, there’s no mobile phone reception anywhere. Expecting an important call, you set out on an arduous journey toward the top of the mountain.

How and at what pace you climb the mountain is completely up to you. You can constantly improve your climbing and flying skills with well-hidden collectibles and unlockable items. If you don’t feel like hiking, you can also freely explore the entire island and go fishing, swimming, boating or do chores for the incredibly cute animal islanders to your heart’s content.

A particular highlight of the game is the beautiful pixel graphics, reminiscent of old PlayStation titles, which invoke an authentic summer feeling with their warm colour palette. This holiday atmosphere is rounded off by the ideal soundtrack, which you can also listen to on Spotify.

Available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

«Firewatch»

In «Firewatch», you spend your virtual summer as a Fire Lookout in the Shoshone National Forest. Your task is to spot possible forest fires in the vast national park from a fire watch tower and report them to the appropriate authorities. Aside from your supervisor, whom you reach via walkie-talkie, you’re on your own.

The main character’s tragic backstory is deepened in numerous walkie-talkie conversations and stands in stark contrast to the game’s idyllic natural scenery. The result is a wonderfully nostalgic summer feel that’s cleverly supplemented with mystery and thriller elements as the story unfolds. I don’t want to reveal more about the plot twists.

Available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

«Haven Park»

Admittedly, at first glance, «Haven Park» looks pretty similar to «A Short Hike». And this is no coincidence – the developer himself is a big fan of the latter exploration game. Despite the obvious source of inspiration, «Haven Park» creates an independent experience with its gameplay elements.

Your goal is to renovate a run-down campsite on an island to attract new guests. You’ll search the sandbanks for resources, build bridges, houses and snack stands, and complete numerous quests for the cute campers.

The more guests there are on the island, the more options you have for building new camping facilities. The slow-paced feeling of progress in expanding the park, combined with the summery atmosphere of the picturesque island, makes for an immensely relaxing gaming experience guaranteed to lift your mood.

Available for Nintendo Switch and PC.

«Alba: A Wildlife Adventure»

Don’t just want to relax during your virtual summer vacation, but do something for the environment as well? Then «Alba: A Wildlife Adventure» is the right game for you. As little Alba, you visit your grandparents on a Mediterranean island during the summer holidays. You quickly realise that something is seriously wrong.

The idyllic natural harmony is being threatened by heaps of garbage lying around and a planned hotel complex. You make it your mission to clean up as much trash as possible and help the sick and injured animals on the island. You’ll also collect signatures against the construction of the huge hotel complex and complete quests for the islanders to convince them of your plan.

What sounds stressful and like a lot of work at first is actually quite relaxing. You can take as much or as little time as you want when doing the tasks. Given your charitable actions have a visible impact on the flora and fauna of the island, you’ll be constantly rewarded in small ways and will be able to enjoy the summer atmosphere on your small island more and more.

Available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, iOS and PC.

Do you have any other recommendations for relaxing, uplifting games with a summer feel?

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My love of video games was unleashed at the tender age of five by the original Gameboy. Over the years, it's grown in leaps and bounds.


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