Parents' Guide to

Summer in Mara

By Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Beautiful eco-friendly adventure best played at slow pace.

Summer in Mara Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 7+

If they can read well, then let them play!

This game has amazing, positive stories to tell that will inspire adults and children alike. It takes influence from many world cultures and has at its heart a message about harmony, kindness, closure, and adventure. I would let any interested child play this, but understanding the controls, what to do, how to progress, how to manage your money and time, etc. might be hard for younger kids. The story is captivating and moving, which can be positive or maybe also negative, depending if how sensitive the kid is. Overall though, a fantastic game that has something for everyone. Uplifting and hopeful just when you need an escape! SPOILER BELOW. This game is fun for adults too, and reading the part below will probably lessen your experience. There is an implied major character death near the beginning. Yaya Haku is Koa's parental figure in the intro and remains important to the plot, but she is gone after the intro section ends and there is a time skip to when Koa is a little older. I feel like most kids playing would just be confused by her absence, but playing it myself, it hit me kinda hard. Especially when I found a little shrine dedicated to her on Koa's Home Island. Just a heads-up about that. No violence at all, though.
age 16+

Fun, lots of reading, some adult messages

The game is fun, but with no voice-acting all dialog must be read, so players must be able to read well. Haven't finished the game yet, but one character uses the word "dammit" and later in a questline with he and his "business partner" it is revealed they are also life partners, as they suddenly start giving each other meaningful gifts and talking about their "anniversary" - a move which I thought was unnecessary for their characters. Caution for young players.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Bright, bold, and colorful visuals hook the player and the gentle eco-management story reels them in. Summer in Mara is a game that starts somewhat slow with a sandbox world and seemingly little direction on how to improve equipment, before blossoming into a tale that's worth revisiting. The music is exquisite, and the visuals are veritable eye candy. The farming elements and crafting elements are intertwined well, always giving players something to do. It's not entirely perfect, though. At the start of the game, Yaya, the individual raising Koa, tells the child of the importance of replenishing what is taken. Koa cuts down a tree and plants another from the seed Yaya gives him. But finding other seeds seems frustrating at first, and it's not until several trees are reduced to crafting supplies that seeds start to drop. And if Koa does not harvest when things are ready, they will deteriorate.

Additionally, there's a day-and-night cycle that can limit progress, but Koa needs to eat and to sleep. Finding new recipes, initially, is also hard, requiring players to slow down and not try to rush through the game. That's good news, especially if you're looking for a peaceful adventure, but bad news for hardcore gamers that want to get to the ending as quickly as possible. But if you're looking for an eco-friendly game that embraces a slower pace, with farming, crafting, and exploring, this is the game for you.

Game Details

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