Ceci n'est pas un jeu.

Summertime Madness is an adventure puzzle game that follows the story of an artist who’s made an unfortunate “business” deal. Taking place during wartime, you’re an artist living in a world where all that is known are violence and darkness. One day, as the artist paints, a mysterious man appears and offers a proposition; he can put you in one of your own paintings to escape the war-torn world. However, if you don’t escape within a certain amount of time, you will be stuck there forever.

Solving puzzles to find a way out of the beautifully surrealistic paintings, and discovering secrets about the painter on the way, makes this game absolutely breathtaking and worth the play-through.

Starting on a little island on a lake, your objective is to solve puzzles to find a way outside of the painting in which you’re currently trapped. You’re given the option to play in classic mode (which allows you six hours to complete the game), advanced (which gives you three), or explorer (no time limit). Once you’ve selected your mode, you’re presented with a clock that tracks your time. When stuck on a puzzle, you can use a hint which takes away 15 minutes.

The first puzzle you come across is on a boat you have to escape by ringing bells and opening and closing doors in a certain order. The next puzzle takes place in a lighthouse, where you are given a maze of bridges you have to navigate to find a way out. The game continues like this, taking place in random locations with beautiful scenery and challenging puzzles. Along the way, you can find secrets or hidden objects such as graffiti or instruments. You can receive trophies if you find them all.

The game is presented in first-person, and you move and look around with the two Joy-Con sticks. You interact with objects with the A button, and access your clock with X. Other than that, there is not much else to do control-wise besides run. You are given a tutorial of how to play when the game first starts, and you can access the controls at any point throughout the game as well.

Because Summertime Madness takes place within surrealistic painting, the visuals are absolutely insane. As an artist, I found myself constantly inspired by the creative imagery, and I really appreciated the familiar references.

There are a ton of settings in the game, ranging from a lake in the middle of nowhere to a busy city and beyond. There are also statues and paintings you will come across that are breathtakingly beautiful. As you travel this world, it constantly changes around you, bringing you to new areas. As such, the game t is best played while docked, allowing you to view this world in all its glory.

I came across no bugs or issues in Summertime Madness. The only issue that bothered me a little was the speed at which you turned the camera, which can be adjusted to your liking in the options, and therefore is barely a problem.

Summertime Madness is a beautifully made game, one that fans of puzzle games—or even just stunning imagery—should definitely play…perhaps even more than once to make you sure you’ve taken everything in.