For some, summer is a time for travel, spending time with family, and getting outside to soak up the sun. I, on the other hand, have never liked summer; I don’t deal well with the heat or how crowded the roads and beaches are. I prefer to spend most of my summer indoors and in front of a console or computer, playing my favorite games.
But that doesn’t mean I miss out on all the summer fun before it fades to the cooler temperatures of fall. Here are some of my favorite summer-time video games of all time.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
I feel like it’s hard to have a list of summer games without including AC:NH. This game has been super popular since its release back in March of 2020, and many players have made it through several seasons on their island. They can curl up on their couch in the winter with their island friends, redecorate with spooky lanterns for the fall, and celebrate the falling of the cherry-tree leaves every spring.
But the summer is the best part of any Animal Crossing title; you can swim, catch fish, catch bugs, sit around the campfire, and celebrate summer without getting any of the sunburn or mosquito bites that come with actually going outside.
Valheim is a survival game based on Norse Mythology. You play as a Viking warrior and hero that has died, and you have been chosen to defend the afterlife realm. Collect items to build up a strong fortress and take on waves of enemies for the glory of Odin.
While the game itself is not summery, many of the landscapes that players find themselves in remind me of summer. That and the fact that you and all your friends can play on a server together makes it feel like everyone is coming to an old-fashioned LAN party and staying up all night to play games together.
Flower is the ultimate relaxation game. Originally released for the PlayStation 3, Flower is now available for Steam, GOG, and the Epic Games Store. You play as the wind, awakening the flowers and blooms as you blow through the world, carrying a rainbow of petals along with you.
This beautiful, simple, and amazing game was made by thatgamecompany which is also responsible for Journey, Sky, and Flow which are all long-time favorites of mine. Flower gives players the serene feeling of being in nature like nothing else I’ve ever experienced, and I would recommend this game to everyone who has never played it before.
A Short Hike
A Short Hike is the most wholesome of indie games. It offers players an open world of outdoor adventure. You get to meet new people, make friends, hike through the wilderness to the top of a mountain, and fly back down on your own wings.
Not only do you get to spend some relaxing time out of doors in this charming video game, but it also just feels like a summer vacation. Between the strange games that the locals play and some hilarious (but family-friendly!) jokes, players will be laughing, crying, and getting that wonderful vacation feeling playing A Short Hike. (Review for the game is here)
This game is so weird. It’s a simulation of the passing of time in a very 16-bit world. But exploring the island brings up memories of being outdoors in the summer, in the sunlight, and exploring the world around you with young eyes. I love Proteus deeply, and I was so happy to see that it is available both on Steam and for PlayStation 5!
For anyone with fond memories of playing in the water as kids in the summer, I would 100% recommend Powerwash Simulator. This weird-and-wonderful game pits players against a very dirty world, and only they and their powerwasher can stand up against it.
Although cleaning might not be a favorite pastime for most of us, there is something both soothing and satisfying about power-washing away all the dirt and grime that looks like it’s been building up for years. And it brings back all the fun of water balloon fights, running through the sprinkler, and other summer-only water activities.
Alba: A Wildlife Adventure
Alba is the story of a young lady who is visiting her grandparents for the summer. You get to wander from one end of this paradise island for a whole week, taking photos of wildlife and helping the town to rebuild its nature reserve.
Nothing says summer is like an adventure on a Mediterranean island. This game is all about learning about animals and the importance of conservation. All the birds listed in the wildlife manual actually exist, and their real calls and songs are recorded for the game. This is a real summer vacation without leaving the couch. (Our review is here)
Frog Detective 1: The Haunted Island
While the name might sound spooky, there is nothing scary about The Haunted Island. You play as a frog who is a detective ready to solve a brand-new case. You travel to a supposedly haunted island in a tropical location, meet plenty of wacky strangers, and even get to participate in a dance-off. This game is filled to the brim with absurdist humor and mysteries aplenty. Make sure to play it before the third instalment comes out this year.