We review a dozen titles to which we especially resort in summer to spend the holidays in a mainly agrarian and rural life.
We come to a particularly favorable time of year to embark on those adventures that have been pending for us during the first semester; especially those that require many hours ahead. Summer is synonymous for many of us at JRPG, but also to stop thinking for at least a few days and simply let ourselves go.
Farming games on console and PC have had a luster of special lucidity thanks to commercial successes that have penetrated deep into the independent scene; But not only there, but also on the part of large publishers with proposals that have brought together different styles and genres so that the agrarian idea is, in short, only the beginning.
In reality, few of the games we are going to quote below are strictly about a life on the farm; We do not intend to make a list of Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley clone games because the originals are already there, but a series of works whose rhythm, treatment of time and both mechanical and playable vision transport us to nature, making us the ones we use our own resources.
Another common denominator chosen is quality. Not all are outstanding, but they do have merits to be recommended because, if you like any of these, surely you will find the magic of others. We will indicate, however, on which platforms you can find them and what their main assets are; Perhaps you will find here the title that will accompany you on the strangest vacations — surely — of our lives.
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town (Nintendo Switch, PC)
The return of one of the most beloved installments in the Harvest Moon saga is cause for joy. Those familiar with the Marvelous license, now under a different nomenclature due to a complex change in rights, will know that the original 2004 GameBoy Advance work became de facto one of the most versatile, profound and rewarding in the series in both portable and global territory.
And that’s what we find with Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town, a title already available on Nintendo Switch and PC adapted to all three dimensions with a precious style, designed to be enjoyed also in portable mode, capable of maintaining the aspects they did Great to the original title both for its pace and for the economy, number of playable options or how well balanced the time is in relation to the number of daily activities that we can do. Despite its slow start, we believe that the addictive touch it presents shortly after starting will be enough hook for you to continue. For this summer of 2020, the remake more than meets expectations without being a technical revolution.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo Switch)
What can we say about what is surely the best installment in the saga. He made himself beg, seven years apart from his last canonical appearance on Nintendo 3DS, but it was worth it. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an extraordinary title for many reasons; It is not perfect, far from it, but its playable advances made us feel more than ever owners of ourselves. This time we arrived at a desert island, not a town with a town hall or a city full of places and neighbors. Here we start from scratch, with what that implies.
From the creation of a lance to a staircase to reach elevated areas, passing through the first mortgage to have a roof under which to sleep, the title sets out a few first hours where the feeling of progress is constant and where the best ideas of the series come together enlarged in ways we’ve never seen before. The introduction of a crafting table to make new objects and tools is a success, because it gives meaning to the collection of materials and does not limit it only to direct sales. Little by little we will see that the island has more of a town shape; that what used to be leaps with the spear are now roads stepping on a bridge. That when before we saw only trees in the distance we can now glimpse homes, neighbors, businesses, activity.
Museum, the ability to swim and dive from this summer, constant content updates, temporary events … A video game full of life that aims to last for years, which makes management much more pleasant thanks to the Nookophone, the Nook Miles and, for more inri, an artistic section that dazzles. Essential.
Surely one of the biggest phenomena in management video games and the largest social component since The Sims. We are talking about a title that started with little noise, but its progressive release on other platforms, currently on all, has led the work developed by Eric Barone to convince more than 10 million players. It is on Nintendo Switch where it has a larger activity currently, but on PC it is where the news comes first and where, surely, it is better controlled if we use a keyboard and mouse.
Its playable variety is massive, to the point of being considered by many the best Harvest Moon of all time without the need to carry that name. Every day is different, you have total freedom to choose how and in what way. In fact, it’s not just a farm management video game; agrarian and livestock life are just one more element. We have a greenhouse, a town with which to establish friendly and sentimental relationships, a history that continues to expand, businesses that grow more over the years thanks to updates, tools with options for improvement and an interesting role-playing touch.
If we add options such as fishing, mining, customization options … or that progress offers a reward for everything we do, we realize that Stardew Valley is not a conventional game, that it goes much further and becomes , surely, in one of the most important video games in the history of the independent scene. Your success is deserved.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch)
When the generation ends and we have to make a list of the so-called sleeper games, Dragon Quest Builders 2 will be there. It is not a role-playing game, but it does transfer that good work of the main saga with great touch and skill to turn all this into a sort of Minecraft with an interesting history, the designs of the unmistakable Akira Toriyama, gameplay based on construction and exploration plus a series of substantial improvements over the first part. It is a pleasure to immerse yourself in this sequel.
We analyzed it last summer and, according to the hour meter, between Nintendo Switch and PS4 we have added more than 100 (and we are far from having finished it!). The positive is that Square Enix did not want to imitate the Mojang phenomenon or alternatives like Terraria, but instead opted for the role-playing component, including aspects that the community asked for as an exponentially expanded multiplayer mode and a really comfortable depth of construction.
It is a title that has details of quality of life, to which we can only attribute that its combat system is too simple. Now it is not your main concern. You have a management, combat, construction title or just enjoy environments to explore alone or in company. It is in summer when we enjoy it and it is now when we will return. Very well, a hypothetical Dragon Quest Builders 3 will have to do it to improve this delivery, almost excellent.
Summer in Mara (Nintendo Switch, PC; coming soon PS4 and Xbox One)
The Spanish video game scene has been able to respond to many genres in recent years, but Summer in Mara is surely the one that has done the best in the world of management simulators. After analyzing it, we realized that it is not so much a management title as a narrative adventure where its history, its universe and characters end up being above the gameplay itself. It is a work with defects, both playable and in structure, but it lends itself to be contemplated and enjoyed. It is beautiful, it is beautiful, and that beauty is felt from the first minute thanks to a Koa, protagonist, who grows up with us as players.
We have the possibility to manage our garden, trade with it, explore various islands and territories, do favors, complete missions, sail with our boat … It doesn’t reinvent anything; in fact, there is no aspect where it excels excessively, but its arrival has been very well received among the public because it has personality, something very difficult to achieve in a market with so much competition, because its soundtrack and artistic section are of remarkable high , and because getting lost in this universe is something that we really liked. We hope that the updates and patches will correct some of its mechanics issues, that they will give some messenger missions a spin, because it generally has the potential to be recommended above others on the list today.