A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
Characters' conversations provide some instruction, but players don't get too much information about how the overall experience works or what to do next, which would be helpful.
Products & Purchases
Players will see banner ads on the screen, and the story's interrupted fairly frequently with lengthy commercials. You can pay to remove them and have unlimited opportunities to advance the story by a half-day.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Summer of Memories is an adventure game for iOS and Android devices. The game offers a somewhat interactive plot that allows players to make some choices, such as what they'll spend money they earn on. An ongoing story features family connections and getting to know other people and understand their perspective -- positive concepts for young players to be exposed to. While the main character meets a number a people throughout the narrative, gamers won't come into contact with anyone from the real world through the app. But ads frequently interrupt the story, which slows the experience down and can be frustrating. To eliminate them, you'll have to pay $3.99.
Is It Any Good?
This plot of this sim-story combination touches on adjusting to a new place, understanding other people's perspective, getting along with others, and building family bonds. The gameplay of Summer of Memories includes collecting items during the journey, but other parts of the experience aren't as interactive as you might. You're instructed to place items in a backpack, such as food that's ideal for longer journeys, to help fuel the main character's daily expeditions, but there's no confirmation you picked the right things -- or how the backpack ties into what Sosuke does. A map offers detail about locations on the island, but you can't click on them to go there. When Sosuke visits places during the day, you don’t see it happen, and don't find out about it until later, when you're shown images and photo captions about it.
The pace can also feel aggravatingly slow. You have to click through each line of dialogue between characters without the option to skip things, and you can't advance the storyline until Sosuke's day has ended. Days don’t follow the same 24-hour cycle as in real life -- particularly if you use a magic clock to speed the process up, which only eliminate a half-day. Players may get frustrated with all the waiting around that's required, because without actively exploring places, sometimes the only thing to do is bounce back and forth between the beach and family store, clicking on people who appear to gain coins. The wait times involved in playing, though, can be a drag -- and the way-too-frequent product plugs players are bombarded with are a major detriment. Even though the graphics are impressive, the story has positive themes, and the developers have tried to make it easier to track who you've interacted with during play, that's not enough to overcome its flaws. Without much to do and the frustration of sitting through frequent ads, gamers may not be all that interested in finding out how Summer of Memories' story ends.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.