Monday, June 22, 2020

Sensational Summer Video Games to Mellow Out With

If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, then you probably know that summer is officially here! With summertime comes hot and heated temps, humidity, and bright sunshine. Of course, this summer is a bit different with an ongoing pandemic, so if you want to maintain social distancing rules and stay safe, there's always a digital retreat you can take with these great video games with summertime themes and feels. Now, some of these games have the feeling of summer or are ripe with activities pertaining to the season, and some stretch the definition of "summertime" more than others, but they're sure to bring a smile to your face! After you've checked out my picks, which games scream "SUMMER!" the most to you?

Super Mario Sunshine (GCN)

You can't mention Mario and summertime in the same sentence without mentioning the 3D platformer that epitomizes the season: Super Mario Sunshine. The whole game takes place on the glorious open expanses of beautiful, tropical Isle Delfino, which despite the summer window dressing, has plenty of variety in its world's trials and challenges. From Bianco Hills' treacherous climb up the windmill to face Petey Piranha, to Sirena Beach's hotel where the goal is to rout out some unruly and uninvited haunted guests, Super Mario Sunshine is a varied and pleasant platformer. Yes, it might not be the mellowest of experiences with some of the more enraging, ill-conceived challenges in the game (looking at you, lily pad and pachinko Shine Sprites), but overall, Super Mario Sunshine is some summer bliss distilled in video game form.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (NSW)

I feel like I've broached on and on about this next game in myriad recent articles on SuperPhillip Central, but just in case it hasn't gotten boring reading about Animal Crossing: New Horizons yet, here I am again with more about this wonderful time sink of a game! Summer in New Horizons sees a whole host of new events and happenings around your personal island home, from bug-catching competitions to June wedding events, to a multitude of new fish and insects to nab with your rod and net respectively. On June evenings, the subtle but mesmerizing green glows of fireflies offers bountiful beauty in the nighttime air. Just avoid the bites of errant pesky mosquitoes! All year round Animal Crossing: New Horizons delivers abundant things to do, and summertime is but part of the fun.

Wii Sports Resort (Wii)

Wii Sports Resort was the game that originally came bundled with the Wii MotionPlus attachment for the Wii Remote to offer much more accuracy when it came to the Wii hardware's motion controls, as well as the excellent followup to the game that revolutionized the gaming industry and brought new players into our hobby (the more, the merrier--even if many didn't stick around). Wii Sports Resort brought lots of joy and merriment to players as they ventured around the many areas of Wuhu Island, a tropical getaway worthy of its name, as many players found themselves "woo-hoo-ing" as they played each of Wii Sports Resort's 12 unique activities. Between Wave Race-like jet ski-riding, basketball, golf, bowling, among many others, Wii Sports Resort kept players up and moving and is still a great game to play for those summertime gaming sessions. Book a return pleasure trip to Wuhu Island today with Wii Sports Resort!

Go Vacation (NSW, Wii)

If you've had your fill of fun on Wuhu Island, then perhaps an alternate island getaway destination with a considerably larger set of activities in its repertoire is more to your liking! Meet Kawawii Island from Namco Bandai's Go Vacation. The game was the publisher's answer to Nintendo's Wii Sports, and it went with a "bigger is better" and "more is more" approach (as opposed to a "less is more" one) with Go Vacation. Kawawii Island is a fully realized location, able to be freely explored, though split up between four resort areas: Marine, Mountain, Snow, and City. Each resort houses its own array of activities, such as Ridge Racer-style vehicle racing, extreme sports like skateboarding, ATV races, surfing, beach volleyball, tennis, horseback riding, and so, SO many more. Go Vacation's list of activities may not all be winners (most are, thankfully), but there's a lot of fun and entertainment to be found in this gem of a game, originally released on the Wii and now available on the Nintendo Switch.

Fishing Resort (Wii)

Fishing is synonymous with summertime. Lazy days floating on the river, in the ocean, or on a lake, so of course I had to choose a fishing game for this summer-centric list. However, there are so many fishing games to choose from, so which to pick? My favorite fishing-focused video game that I've played (and I must admit, I don't play many of them) is Prope's Fishing Resort for the Wii. Beyond the insane level of customization you have in the game, the amount of fishing locations in the game, and the amazing and oftentimes arduous fishing gameplay that really rewards you for patience, perseverance, and overall pluck, makes for a terrific fishing title. Fishing Resort pits players against a profusion of different fish to try to catch and then display them in their own aquariums. Each fish you encounter is its own tough battle, but the motion controls work so well that tedium rarely sets in. I hope that like Go Vacation, Fishing Resort somehow makes a "splash" onto the Nintendo Switch. As is, it's a great game to unwind and reel in some fun with during the summer.

Stardew Valley (Multi)

Let's now move onto a game that is a bumper crop of awesome, zen-like entertainment. It's of course Stardew Valley, which pretty much needs no special adoration from me. It's a known, quality game, after all, but permit me to partake in some love for the game, regardless. Stardew Valley is a game that, like Animal Crossing and the series it is inspired by, Harvest Moon, can make players fall into the trap of losing hours of real life time like it were nothing. Between clearing fields, farming crops, chatting with the locals, exploring caves and mines, and such--all otherwise menial real life tasks that this game somehow makes fun--Stardew Valley can easily sap hours upon hours of your life. However, seeing your farm grow from a squalid series of fields into a thriving bounty of beauty and crops is worth it, I would say!

Everybody's Golf (PS4)

We conclude this list of enjoyable summer-themed video games with two sports video games that are synonymous with the season. We begin with some time on the greens, fairways, and on my bad days on the course, bunkers, of Everybody's Golf, a tremendous golf series in its own right, formerly known as Hot Shots Golf on the North American side of the globe. Courses can be fully explored to uncover secrets, whether on foot or via golf cart, and there's plenty more than golf to participate in, such as fishing for rare aquatic species. Customize your golfer to your satisfaction, and then take them out for a round of birdies, eagles, and if you're fortunate, the ever-elusive albatross, hole-in-one, or even rarer--a condor! I don't really have a love for watching or playing the real thing, but in gaming form, relaxing in my comfy chair, golf is great fun and just what I need for some summertime satisfaction!

Super Mega Baseball 3 (Multi)

BATTER UP! Last but certainly not least, we move on from putting and driving to hitting and pitching with the boys of summer in Super Mega Baseball 3, the latest in the versatile and exciting baseball game series from developer Metalhead Software. With Major League Baseball's season status up in the air like a high ball popped up in the air to center field, Super Mega Baseball 3 is a suitable substitute, not just for summer but all year long. You can customize your own team, design their jerseys, their logo, player names, appearances and stats, and take them out against the world in seasons, elimination tournaments, as well as the in-depth and highly impressive, all-new Franchise mode. For stat geeks and players who want to work with a team that grows and changes between each game and each season, this is the mode for you. Beautifully blending arcade gameplay with simulation qualities, Super Mega Baseball 3 hits a game-winning home run.

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