Cult Japanese director who practically invented the 'cozy' genre 20 years ago with Boku no Natsuyasymi is back with an open-world game coming worldwide this year

Screenshot from Natsu-Mon 20th Century Summer Kid
(Image credit: Spike Chunsoft)

Over 20 years ago, director Kaz Ayabe and his game development studio Millennium Kitchen debuted the Boko no Natsuyasumi (translates to My Summer Vacation) series about nostalgic, day-in-the-life romps through rural Japan. Alongside Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon, the series practically kickstarted the 'cozy' boom we see today, and while the series never saw official global localizations, the team's next game is getting a proper release abroad.

Publisher Spike Chunsoft and developer Millennium Kitchen just yesterday announced that Natsu-Mon: 20th Century Summer Kid, which came out last year in Japanese, is getting an English translation on August 9, coming to both the Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam. A free Nintendo Switch demo is also incoming on July 30, otherwise you can check out the Japanese PC release now. Should you already own the game's Japanese release on Steam, then a free update will simply patch in an English option come August 9.

Natsu-Mon: 20th Century Summer Kid might not be properly a part of the My Summer Vacation series that everyone's been begging to see ported over, but it still carries much of the same DNA and is basically a My Summer Vacation game in all but its name. The upcoming game is still filled with chirping cicadas, open-ended exploration, fishing and bug-catching mini-games, and a sunny town that serves as both a nostalgic escape and a reminder of lost childhood. Plus, Kaz Ayabe is still in the director's chair.

Natsu-Mon: 20th Century Summer Kid Announcement Trailer | Nintendo Switch & Steam - YouTube Natsu-Mon: 20th Century Summer Kid Announcement Trailer | Nintendo Switch & Steam - YouTube
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A press release explains that "a circus troupe comes to Yomogi Town, a rural town in Japan situated between mountains and the ocean." We play "as the son of the circus ringmaster" who can either help the circus, interact with the townsfolk, or just lounge about enjoying the festival, watching fireworks, swimming, or train-hopping to nearby towns. The trailer above looks delightful either way.

While none of the Boko no Natsuyasumi games ever saw an official English release, you might have played the team's somewhat similar follow-ups with the 3DS' incredible Attack of the Friday Monsters and the Switch's Shin-chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation. 

For more, check out the Steam Next Fest ‘cozy’ darling about doodling castles which amassed over 1 million wishlists.

Freelance contributor

Kaan freelances for various websites including Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, and this one, Gamesradar. He particularly enjoys writing about spooky indies, throwback RPGs, and anything that's vaguely silly. Also has an English Literature and Film Studies degree that he'll soon forget.