Ah, summer 2021: much of the world has finally started to open up again, which means we can finally get outside to enjoy the season to the fullest. Lounge by a pool, take a vacation, attend a barbecue… or, if you want to stay inside, that’s totally understandable too. If you do plan on staying in this season, you can at least take in some summer vibes through the power of video games. Grab a summer snack and check out these five games that perfectly capture the feeling of summer.
Super Mario Sunshine – GameCube, Nintendo Switch
Mario’s island getaway gone wrong. Super Mario Sunshine takes our plumber hero and his friends to Delfino Island, where a mysterious shadow version of Mario wreaks havoc with a mysterious monster-filled goo. Mario gets arrested for the crimes; it’s his job to clean the island and find the real culprit. Thankfully, he has some help in the form of F.L.U.D.D., a handy water invention that Mario can use to clean the goo and get around the island.
This classic 3D Mario story is perfect for summer. Mario may be busy trying to save Peach from danger again, but at least he gets to enjoy some sun in the process. If you don’t have a GameCube on hand, no worries! Super Mario Sunshine is included in the Super Mario 3D All-Stars trilogy for Nintendo Switch.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Nintendo Switch
OK, maybe this one was predictable, but Animal Crossing: New Horizons is another island adventure, so it would’ve been wrong not to include it. Your character heads off to a deserted island, where you get the chance to live with anthropomorphic animals and pay off a debt to a money-hungry raccoon. Fun! You can design your island however you’d like, so it’s a great laid-back life simulator.
Sunset Overdrive – Xbox One, PC
Head into the year 2027 with Sunset Overdrive. The game takes place in Sunset City, a metropolis filled with mutated humans after they drank energy drinks from a company called FizzCo. Talk about a PR nightmare. As a former FizzCo employee, it’s your job to wrangle up these mutants and clean up their mess.
Sunset Overdrive features plenty of action. Your character can zipline, parkour, wall run, and more, with major emphasis on keeping momentum. Maybe it’s the city’s bright colors or the Sunset in the name, but something about this game just has summer vibes.
Mario Golf: Super Rush – Nintendo Switch
Mario Golf: Super Rush is about as close to golf as Mario can get. There are some crazy twists. Speed Golf is as high-stakes as it sounds, with players racing to complete every hole. There’s also Battle Golf, which puts players in an arena and tasks them with sinking the ball in three holes before their opponents.
Even if you don’t play golf IRL, Mario Golf: Super Rush is fun for all ages and easily addictive. If you really want to feel like you’re on the back nine on a beautiful summer day, you can use motion controls with detachable Joy-Con golf clubs. Fooore!
Vacation Simulator – PSVR, Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, SteamVR
How could I not mention this one? If you’ve got VR, Vacation Simulator is definitely a summer game to try. In the year 2060, robots experiment with taking time off work. You can choose which areas of Vacation Island you want to explore, including the beach, the forest, and the mountains. Complete a series of simulations (mini-games) and relax.
Vacation Simulator has everything you could want in a summer vacation – time in the sun, s’mores, sandcastles, kayaking, and more. If you won’t be taking a real vacation this summer, leave it to the robots to ensure that you get the time off you deserve.