Well folks it's summer time once again, which is either great or horrible depending on where you live. I'm personally not a fan of humid terribly hot weather, which unfortunately is exactly what my region's summers are like.
But I am a fan of the themes of summer. (Or at least the cherry picked themes I subscribe to.) Thus for every July since 2016, I've attempted to play games that capture those themes. An interesting activity to distract me from the otherwise miserable temperatures outside.
Thus I'm doing this silly act of self indulgence yet again, and will chronicle my related exploits in this thread. (I chronicled last year's efforts here.) This July I'll be playing games that incorporate at least one (preferably multiple) of these themes:
A reminder that Duke Caribbean is a good candidate for your summer theme. I haven't played it yet myself, but I often hear it's the best Duke3D expansion. Not sure if PowerSlave/Exhumed meets your requirements, but it does have scorching hot sand, oasis, swimming and all that. It's also very, very good. Then there are Far Cry 2 and the Xenus dilogy. Island Peril and Isle of the Dead would also fit, but they are pretty bad games and can't recommend them in good conscience.
Oh, and ScubaVenture: The Search for Pirate's Treasure from Apogee:
Risen is also noteworthy since it's set on a tropical island, but the series would only go full pirate with the sequel. There are also the Diva Alert games from Sacnoth on the Neo Geo.
I think you said you didn't care for Lost in Blue last year, but perhaps Survival Kids for the GBC is worth a shot?
I downloaded this last year per your recommendation. I might get around to it this year. It totally ticks the theme boxes... I'm just not much of a fan of Duke Nukem 3D is the thing.
This one I've been interested in for a while. I believe you said the PS1 version has "metroidvania" aspects. I could get into that.
>Far Cry 2 and the Xenus dilogy
I thought Far Cry 2 took place in the African heartland? The screenshots I can recall showed safari bushland type stuff.
>ScubaVenture: The Search for Pirate's Treasure
That one is on my list to beat someday. I used to play it eons ago in 9th grade, in my keyboarding class. It's decent.
I own Risen 1, 2, and 3 on Xbox 360. You are right that those are good picks. The only thing is they are large RPGs. It'd probably take me a whole July just to beat one of them. But I absolutely will give this trilogy a go eventually.
>There are also the Diva Alert games from Sacnoth on the Neo Geo Pocket.
On the surface they seem interesting. Unfortunately the Dive Alert games suck. I wish that wasn't true, but it is (from personal experience).
>Lost in Blue
That series disappointed me a lot. I tried the first two on DS, and the Wii version. Horribly tedious junk, made me sad due to the loss of so much potential.
>Survival Kids for the GBC
I have finished the first Survival Kids, and it was fairly decent. You just reminded me though, that I haven't played through Survival Kids 2 yet, which did get an English fan translation.
This is one hardcore-assed SCUBA diving simulator. You have to get virtually certified in various SCUBA disciplines before you can ever start playing the game. I mean you have to worry about buoyancy control, decompression timing, air supply, the fuel quantity of your ship, navigating storms, equipment maintenance, and tons of other stuff. The learning curve was real. So is the challenge, this is not an easy game whatsoever.* I like it so far though, gonna try to stick it out.
*If you play on "simulator" mode. There's an "arcade" mode too, but I didn't bother with that.