My Summer Car
|My Summer Car|
My Summer Car header on Steam
|Genre(s)||Vehicle simulation game, survival|
Gameplay and setting
My Summer Car is set in rural Finland during the summer of 1995, where the 19-year-old player character has the family home to themselves while their parents are on holiday in Tenerife. The player has to assemble, restore and upgrade their father's dilapidated Satsuma Amp (modeled after the Datsun 100A) using various car parts found around the garage, as well as by purchasing new parts. To earn money for the parts, the player can perform various countryside chores for neighbours such as delivering firewood on a tractor-pulled trailer, using a vacuum truck to empty their septic tanks, making kilju (Finnish moonshine) and selling it to an alcoholic neighbor, and picking up aforementioned neighbor from the town pub on early mornings in exchange for a small sum of money. After passing the Satsuma at the vehicle inspection office and installing the appropriate aftermarket parts, the player's car is eligible to enter a weekly amateur rallying event for a chance to win a trophy and prize money.
Building the car is not obvious as the player must literally build the car from the ground up. At the start of the game, the car is entirely disassembled down to the last bolt, and the player must place each part in its correct location, including bolting them in one-by-one with the correct size spanner. While most parts only fit together correctly, it is entirely possible to assemble the car wrong, e.g. leave out an engine gasket or a bolt, which will in turn break the car. In addition to gasoline, the car also requires maintenance of additional fluids, including motor oil, radiator coolant, and brake fluids for the brakes and clutch, which deplete in use and time. The player also has access to various other pre-assembled vehicles that only require refueling as maintenance, such as a cargo van capable of carrying large loads, a tractor and a vacuum truck for utilitarian uses, a two-stroke "Jonnez ES" moped (a Suzuki-based model which namesake is based on the term "mopojonne", a moped teen who drinks energy drinks), and a small two-stroke launch at a nearby dock that allows for travel across the map's massive lake. Both the moped and the boat require two-stroke fuel. All of the player's road-going vehicles have the added ability to tow each other as well as salvageable car wrecks. High speed crashes will likely kill the player (though this also includes dying from hunger, dehydration, fatigue, stress, wasp stings or even being killed by speeding drivers or hostile NPCs); the game optionally features permadeath (deletes save data when dying).
Meanwhile, the player must also cater to various survival game aspects as balancing hunger, thirst and fatigue, but also unusual ones such as urine and dirtiness. For nutrition, the player can buy food and can drink beer from the store, drink water directly from faucets, and can buy milk,fatigue can be restored by sleeping or by drinking coffee in a pub, the player can freely urinate anywhere, and dirtiness can be decreased using a shower or swimming in the nearby lake. Drinking too much beer (or hard liquor) will eventually get the player drunk, which first causes the player to waver and their vision to distort, further consumption of alcohol can lead the player to pass out and wake up at a random place on the map the next day. Stress is added in recent experimental updates, and can be alleviated by using a sauna, drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes; failing to do so will eventually lead to a fatal heart attack. Police traffic stops randomly spawn along the main road of the in-game world, issuing fines for any traffic violations (speeding, failing to wear a seatbelt or drink-driving); if the player fails to pay for a fine, police officers will eventually surround player character's home to arrest and imprison him in jail for a period of time scaled based on the cost of the fine.
Much of the game's originality comes from its irreverent tone: The game's world is largely populated by low-class residents, many of which are slovenly or drunkards, and the game includes drunk driving. There are three distinct buttons for cursing and flipping people off - none of which has any consequences other than the occasional response. The game's dialogue is entirely in Finnish, with English subtitles. The player may also save the game's progress at their toilet at home or at any of the outhouses dotting the countryside, which also serves to advance the in-game time by two hours. The game also features a minor backstory involving the drunkard neighbor who hid a suitcase full of 5 million markkas in lottery winnings from his wife; if the player finds it and keeps it for himself, the same neighbor will eventually intrude into the player's house and attempt to murder the player with an axe.
The game does not have mod support as of now, but modifications can be done by using Unity Asset Explorer, mostly texture modifications. Thanks to this, one can make their own car paintjob, edit the rear window stickers and even change the appearance of other vehicles and buildings. There are also unofficial mods such as cars and objects made in Blender, two of the most notable are the Lada 1200 Station Wagon and Utesuma (Satsuma pickup) mod.
My Summer Car is primarily developed by a small independent development team consisting of Johannes Rojola ("ToplessGun"/"RoyalJohnLove") and Kaarina Pönkkä, Rojola's female partner, as well as friends assisting in music and voiceovers. Closed development and beta testing of the game had been documented as early as the middle as 2013, with early snippets of development progress previewed on Rojola's YouTube channel and Twitter accounts. Development commentary hinted of the game intentionally designed to be a life simulator as well as a car simulator, with greater difficulty owning, maintaining and driving the Satsuma on top of survival mechanics. The game would later be released as an early access game via Steam's Greenlight program on October 24, 2016, and continues to be incrementally updated with new features and overhauls made available through its development branch and its public monthly updates.
Writing for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Brendan Caldwell called the game "Funny, detailed and thoroughly confusing"; while writing for Kotaku, Nathan Grayson called the game "Janky and weird as fuck, but fun". Both Caldwell and Eurogamer's Martin Robinson compared the game's difficulty curve to Dark Souls.
My Summer Car has also been the subject of praise from within the Finnish gaming community, winning the People's Choice Game of the Year 2016 "Kyöpelit" award in the 2017 Finnish Game Awards, and being inducted into the Finnish Museum of Games among the museum's 100 game entries in 2018.
- Kauppinen, Jukka O. (26 October 2016). "Suomalaisesta tietokonepelistä tuli yllättävä hitti – kömpelö ja ruma My Summer Car on ehtaa ysäriä". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Sanoma. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
Sitä [My Summer Caria] voisi kuvailla jopa suomalaiskansalliseksi Grand Theft Autoksi, sillä molemmat ovat avoimen maailman hiekkalaatikkokohelluksia, joissa pelaajille on vapaat kädet touhuta.
- Grayson, Nathan. "22 Life Lessons I Learned From A Permadeath Car Game".
- Caldwell, Brendan (7 November 2016). "Premature Evaluation: My Summer Car".
- Robinson, Martin (27 October 2016). "My Summer Car is the most hardcore driving game yet".
- "The best games made in Finland were awarded at The Finnish Game Awards". visionist.fi. 27 April 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "The Finnish Museum of Games > 100 Finnish Games". Vapriikki Museum Centre. Retrieved 23 April 2018.