Summer can be a rough season for gamers. Although games are still being released, many major releases tend to cluster around the winter holidays and slowly peter out for a bit of a dry spell around this time.

However, there is quite a library of games that do exist, that anyone can go back to or still pick up for the first time and enjoy. Like my fellow N3 staff members, I thought I’d get some games together that are great for beating those summer release doldrums.

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, Nintendo 3DS

Animal Crossing

This game is a lot of fun if you like The Sims, but don’t particularly care for the part where you finish the houses and then have to care for your Sims. It lets you interact with your favorite villagers in a new way and learn more about them. There are also additional projects that let you develop the town. The only downside I’ve found is that the houses can only be a maximum of two rooms, with no option to create the maxed-out mansions that you can get in the main games.

Happy Home Designer is also compatible with the Animal Crossing Amiibos and Amiibo cards. Although all of the villagers (or at least their items) are supposed to be unlockable through normal gameplay, the Amiibo accessories move things along. They’re hard to find right now, but they will be compatible with the new Animal Crossing game, so we’ll probably see new sets printed when that comes out (I hope).

Doctor Mario, Gameboy

Doctor Mario

In Doctor Mario, you cure infections by piling up pills of the same color on top of them or next to them. That’s it. But like Tetris, the game becomes addictive quickly even though it’s a relatively simple concept. Personally, I think you get a little bit more out of Doctor Mario, because you can customize speed, difficulty, and even the level you want to start on. My Doctor Mario of choice is the original Gameboy version (1990), but I can’t imagine that the game really varies that much from version to version.

Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town, Gameboy Advance

Harvest Moon

If you’re shocked that I have a Harvest Moon game on this list, you must be new to this site. (Editors Comment: Seriously, she’s been on about it for years) This game lets you enjoy a leisurely life on the farm, raising crops and animals and befriending the local villagers–maybe even finding a husband and having a child. It also has great, relaxing music, and the in-game winter will be an effective reprieve from whatever heat wave you’re dealing with at the moment.

This game serves as a good introduction to Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons, as it has less of an overarching story and in-game tasks and functions. You can engage with it at your own pace. More Friends of Mineral Town has you playing as a girl, and if you’d rather play as a boy, you can pick up Friends of Mineral Town, also for the Gameboy Advance. However, Friends of Mineral Town came out first and has some major bugs that were fixed for its sequel. Both are also available on the 3DS’s eshop.

Pokémon Go, Mobile Devices

pokémon Go

I promise you that people are still playing it and it’s really easy to jump back into if you’ve stopped. Even if you just want to play casually, it works just fine as a fun way to get yourself exercising and exploring new places. Of course, if it’s a hot one out, you’ll want to bring a water bottle with you!

Pokémon Picross, Nintendo 3DS

Pokémon Picross

Pokémon Picross is actually just a spinoff of the Picross franchise, which originated on the Gameboy, and was, in reality, just Nintendo getting in on a print puzzle game fad called Nonograms. Basically, you use a numbers to figure out how to fill out a grid to create a picture.

I recommend Pokémon Picross for beginners because you can “catch” Pokémon who have special abilities to help you solve the puzzles. However, all the Jupiter “E” series Picross games for the 3DS are great, and the 3DS also hosts Twilight Princess and Hello Kitty Picross games.

Rare Replay, Xbox One

rare replay

I know, this seems like I’m cheating because Rare Replay is actually a collection of 30 Rare games through the years. But what am I supposed to do, do separate entries for Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, Battletoads, Jet Force Gemini, and Viva Piñata? Well, I guess I could have.

Anyways, this game collection will definitely keep you busy, no matter how familiar you are with the classic Rare library. The games I listed above are the games I tend to go back to over and over, but obviously there are much more and you’re bound to find your own favorites. Even if Battletoads doesn’t do it for you (what, you’re not a masochist?), there are still 29 other games for you to pick from. There’s a healthy mix of arcade, retro, and more modern games, so even if you have a preference for a specific era of games, you have a few options.

Still suffering indoors, waiting for the next game? I’d say I get it, but man, I gave you over thirty games to choose from! Oh well. If you’re still looking for something to tide you over this summer, you can check out the rest of the N3 staff’s picks for the summer doldrums in the upcoming weeks.

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