LifeisXbox’s Summertime Madness review | I got that summertime, summertime… madness, apparently. I can’t be the only one who spontaneously thought about Lana Del Rey’s song Summertime Sadness when they first heard about this game? Either way, today we won’t be talking about a sad summer, but a mad summer! Summertime Madness, a game developed by DP games and published by Sometimes You, recently made its way to the Xbox, so we checked it out for you. Summertime Madness takes place in 1945 Prague, during a time of war. Not what you’d expect from a game with a breezy title as this, right? Well, get ready because I’m about to talk you through this brand new game!
Most Memorable Moment
Unfortunately, my most memorable moment in Summertime Madness is not a positive one. At one point there is a puzzle you have to solve which incorporates a whole city. A city with two dimensions or realities, no less. By pulling levers, you have to make your way through three gates in order to ascend a staircase. I got so stuck in this entire maze-like city to the point I got frustrated and closed the game altogether. Of course, I went back to it but not without the help of a YouTube video, I’m afraid.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we Liked!
- Art style and music | Summertime Madness takes place inside the paintings of a lone painter. So, you know, the art style should be something likeable. Luckily, it was! I was sold from the start on the art style! The first puzzle you get is one where you’re on a boat, and gradually, additional pieces are painted, which was just amazing. I absolutely love the calm and relaxing feeling the art conveys. The accompanying music only strengthens this feeling soothing experience.
- Replay value | While you can easily get through the puzzles and finish Summertime Madness in 3 to 4 hours, there is some interesting replay value in this game. This is definitely something you usually don’t get in a puzzle game, since well, you’ve solved all the puzzles so going back to the game doesn’t really offer much excitement. Still, Summertime Madness has some achievements that require you to look beyond the linear puzzle solving, and the game even has some hidden secrets to track down! Especially since Summertime Madness gives players a world to explore but not much time to do so (as there are three playable modes of which two have a time limit), it can be interesting to go back to the game a second or third time.
- Story | Summertime Madness takes place in 1945 Prague, a city ravaged by war. With the ungoing second world war, a lone painter decides to isolate himself from the outside world. The worse the terrors of war became, the more the painter got obsessed with painting beautiful landscapes as a counter reaction to the evil in the world. One night, a mysterious man appeared in the painter’s house and offered him a deal. What if the painter could wander around in his own creations, in a place without war and pain. The only condition that the mysterious stranger sets is that the painter has to find his way back to the real world before midnight or his sould would become trapped in the paintings forever (cinderella feels, am I right). Desperate to escape war, pain and death, the painter accepted the deal. And that’s where you as a player of Summertime Madness takes over. The developers painted a nice picture, didn’t they? I thought so too when I started to play the game. Unfortunately, I feel like the developers should’ve done more with a story that’s promising. Throughout the game itself, you kind of forget about it until the ending approaches, and that’s just too bad. There are some other story-worthy pieces that you encounter, but nothing really ties together (and definitely doesn’t relate to the mysterious man) or makes any sense so this was really disappointing overall.
- Puzzles | Now, what should’ve been one of the highlights of Summertime Madness, turned out to be rather disappointing, and disorientating as well if I’m being honest. I absolutely love that there is a variety of puzzles in this game, going from playing a small piece on a piano, to flicking switches and pushing and pulling levers and getting through maze-like situations. But I feel like this game wasn’t optimised for a good user experience. Take the piano for example. I cannot read notes so I couldn’t play the correct tunes and had to guess my way through that assignment. I got it eventually but it was pure guess-based and wasn’t solved the way it was supposed to be solved, you know. But even worse was this city that had two dimensions or something, I don’t know how to call it. Your goal here is to get past three gates and this is done by switching between dimensions, pulling levers, and consulting the map. I could not, for the life of me, figure out of the hell I was supposed to get through that freaking maze. It very quickly becomes clear that it’s just a lot and the gameplay simply got annoying rather than exciting and challenging. I feel like most puzzles were intended to be fun but ended up being frustrating. A lot of walking is involved in this game as well, and seeing as you’re often walking around at random as well, hoping to reach a solution or get where you need to be, this might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
What we Disliked
- Hints | If you’re having trouble solving some puzzles, the game offers you the option to consult hints. If you do so, you lose a little time, that is if you’re playing in one of the two time-sensitive modes. If you’ve read reviews of me before, you might remember that I’m not the greatest at puzzle solving and I can definitely appreciate a hint option. Well, then why is this in the disliked section, Maui? Well, let me tell you that you probably won’t find any use for the hints. They’re either quite useless or fall behind. The one time I got stuck I ended up just using the good old internet to help me advance further.
How long to beat the story | 3 to 4 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 10 to 20 hours
Please consider supporting us!
Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂