So this one has unfortunately been sitting in my game library for some time now. Originally, it was given to us by developers FaceIT and publishers Noodlecake Studios comes their casual 2D adventure game. Advertised as an epic road trip adventure of the life time, you’ll need to buckle in and get your reflexes ready if you’re going to make it to the end.
The story begins with a young girl awakening from a snow drift deep in the heart of winter woods. Deciding that she’s never seen summer before, she sets off to lands beyond in search of the elusive season. Along the way she’s helped by various shopkeepers that sell her gadgets, outfits and boxcars for her journey. There are others out there as well that provide her with help or advice, but there are those that want to keep her from moving forward.
The game play is very simplistic. The objective of the game is to complete the various tasks of the store owners so that you can advance to the next area. On each course, there are obstacles that gradually damage your boxcar. Using various gadgets correctly allows you to get past the obstacle and to complete your objective. The game comes off as a bit of grind as you need to buy these gadgets, but once you hit a tipping point you’ll be making more than you can reasonably spend on them. In the shop they even show you a picture of what obstacle they can be used to overcome, and they’re very easy to understand from just the small images.
The problem that I have with the game is that you have no control over what gadgets you can use. As you play the game, you get a choice of three items in your bag, and there’s no guarantee that they will be different. So if you need a battering ram to get past a hard object, but the game might give you three rocket boosts. Which, of course you gotta go fast, but generally not into a solid structure. This is where the game comes off as a grind as you wait for your random inventory and the challenges to align so you can get past them just long enough to finish the shopkeeper objectives. In a recent patch, they did add the ability to switch out to a random new gadget, so a string of bad luck is less likely to keep you from advancing.
The map is littered with little bonuses as well. At first this is just a drum that increases the currency for a short time that you gain for surviving. The most prized at the start is the bubble, that gives you a free collision hit. There were plenty of times that because of this ones power-up I was able to get a decent amount of money to buy the gadgets I needed to advance normally. Finally, as you progress through the game you’ll get allies that provide unique abilities. All you need to do is pick up the horn and they’ll come and help you. Pretty handy especially since one of the allies lets you know what obstacles are coming ahead so you can swap out your gadgets.
Art and Music
The game art is 16 bit level pixel art. Even with the limited art style though, the characters are rather expressive. From subtle changes on the character, a wealth of emotion is passed through the media. While a lot of people are using this retro style just for the nostalgia pull, the developer has made it a new media for subtler expressions.
The same can be said for the music in the game. As I was writing this review, I couldn’t remember hearing any music but I had the impression that there was. It’s almost unheard of for a game to have no music, especially given all of the cut scenes that the game has. In the levels that I’ve gotten to, there was some music playing very softly, making it understandable why I didn’t think there was any. That said, with the art style of this game, having a more active musical score might actually take away from the game rather than enhancing it.
At first, I actually didn’t like this game because of the grinding aspects and the random nature of the backpack. At least until the update was added letting me have a little more control over my inventory. I like the art style and even the gameplay itself becomes enjoyably addicting. It’s a game that’s you can set down and come back to without having to worry about your skills deteriorating like other games that are out today. So if you’re interested in an easy game to play between games or if you have a kid that’s looking to get into gaming give Summer Catchers a try. Until next time guys.