Summer Catchers has all the pixelated charm of a summer road trip, that is if you like going at a hundred miles an hour. Meet Chu, a young girl from the frozen north that desperately needs a tan. With the help of a “strange bear”, that kinda looks like a wolf to us Chu is off on her adventure to catch summer.
Crash, Repair & Repeat
This isn’t going to be a stroll in the park though. On your fairly precarious wooden cart, you’re going to be hurtling through multiple hazards. Turns out nobody thought to build breaks in this thing. So you’re just going to have to deal with them as they come.
Each run of Summer Catchers requires you to hop into your ride, load it with various pieces of kit, and drive as far into Summer as you can. Only stop to smell the flowers. Haha no. You’ll be stopping forcibly when you run out of tools that’ll let you avoid the hazards in your path. Some of the nifty equipment includes a shield that blocks incoming hazards, a rocket that helps you race up large hills, and a booster that helps you jump over pitfalls. Crash, repair and repeat.
Making My Way Downtown
While this is an endless runner in gameplay there’s a world for you to fall in love with. Chu herself is a plucky young thing, with all the strength of a raging fire. Mysterious as the dark side of the moon. In each new location, there’s new cutesy animal friends to meet, quests to accept and things to buy. My personal favourite being the new outfits and carts to purchase. A girls gotta look good ohkaayyy.
You’re going to be starting and stopping a lot but just breathe it all in. Enjoy the extremely beautiful works of pixel art. Before leaving each are you’ll need to complete a number of quests. Tasks like feeding fawns, painting hares or wrecking snowmen.
Most of these errands require a specific tool that will be mixed into the “deck” with the rest of your tools. These tools are not chosen by you but pulled from the backpack at random. This requires some care when building a set of tools, because you want to make sure you have the correct combination to deal with the types of obstacles you’ll face. But you’ll also need to make sure you don’t buy too many of any one type so your “hand” isn’t full of the same tool, or a combination of tools you can’t use. Not gonna lie, it gets kinda grindy.
Friendship Is Magic
Any road trip is better with a friend and in Summer Catchers you can team up with one in local co-op. Your friend will be playing Chu’s little brother, Lil Bro, in his trusty sidecar. In the main gameplay mode each player must take turns using tools and while Chu is working on her car, Lil Bro is free to explore the world. Lil Bro can interact with NPCs and the environment in a way Chu can not. He’ll be able to find secrets, uncover stashes of mushrooms, as well as find the secret chewing gum in each stage and unleash its hidden power.
If you don’t have any friends IRL don’t worry because you can make some in-game. There are pets for you to collect! Adorable little coloured squares of joy, that may need some convincing before they agree to help you out.
Summer Catchers is a perfect low impact game to get lost in. The pixelated art is stunning, the characters are charming and music is absolute perfection. Will the gameplay get a little repetitive and frustrating? Maybe. Should you still get this game? Yup.