10 Water-Based Games to Refresh You This Summer

July 31, 2020

Summer is well underway and temperatures are beginning to hit their seasonal highs. Naturally, it can be impossible to escape that heat some days, so video games are a great means of distraction. Although, if you’re going that far, then why not make your gaming choice something cool and relaxing?

There are several video games that are heavily focused on refreshing, flowing water. These experiences may just be perfect for staying cool on a hot summer day. Of course, having a few examples of these aqua-oriented games always helps, right? Here are the best water-based games to play this summer.

Super Mario Sunshine

Nothing says summer like water guns. In this Super Mario adventure, our iconic plumber is outfitted with the Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device, or the F.L.U.D.D. for short. Using this neat water-spouting backpack, Mario must cleanse the setting of Isle Delfino. This makes Super Mario Sunshine a vibrant, colorful game that carries a heavy summer atmosphere.

Of course, Super Mario Sunshine released in the ancient year of 2002. As such, you’ll be needing a Nintendo GameCube or a Nintendo Wii in order to play it. If you can play, it’s a very pleasant way to spend a hot afternoon.


There’s something magical about simply exploring a gorgeously stylized world. Released in 2016, Abzu is a game that doesn’t necessarily have a goal driving players forward. There are no points to score or villains to conquer, but rather a world to discover. Slipping into the role of a scuba diver, players will gently drift through stunning underwater environments.

This does make for a pretty linear game, but freely exploring around makes things far more interesting. Abzu doesn’t really tell you what to do, so some players will simply go from point A to B, while others make as many detours as possible. Although, the overall experience is very laid back and beautiful for players who simply want to explore an interesting setting. Abzu is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.


Released in 2014, Subnautica has become a favorite among players looking for an action-adventure time sink. Taking place on an alien planet, its underwater exploration satisfies a specific itch that some players are looking for. Naturally, Subnautica has tons to discover, some of which may be downright chilling to some players.

Featuring incredible visuals, wonderful gameplay, and enough surprises to always keep things exciting, Subnautica is a game you should definitely try.

Final Fantasy X

While this game mostly takes place on land, it is clear that there is a very specific focus on water throughout the adventure. For instance, Final Fantasy X features Blitzball. This is an action-packed sport that is played underwater. The world of the 2001 release is also largely flooded, which gives things a bit of a tropical vibe.

All in all, if you’re looking for a lengthy role-playing game with a heavy water fixation, then Final Fantasy X is one of your best options.


Soma is a 2015 survival horror game that totally ditches the concept of relaxation. Set in an incredibly dangerous underwater lab, this game will most definitely give you a jump scare or two.


Soma plays similarly to Amnesia: The Dark Descent in that you explore a neat location and avoid terrible threats that probably don’t have the best intentions for you. It may not be the best way to cool down on a warm day, but at least you’ll quickly forget about the heat outside. It’s available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.


The 2006 free Flash game Flow, later released on consoles such as PS3 and PS4, is a nice and relaxing game for players to enjoy. Diving into the deep blue, players will take the role of a creature that lives underwater. From there, they will consume fellow creatures. This allows players to slowly evolve over time. However, the simple nature of this gameplay is really what makes Flow stand out.

It is a slow experience that will appeal to players needing a bit of calmness in these crazy days. Being surrounded by gently flowing water the entire time certainly makes for a refreshing, calming gameplay session.

BioShock 1 & 2

This iconic 2007 game and its under-appreciated 2012 sequel are about as underwater as games can get. Both take place in the undersea city of Rapture, a failed utopia of an overly ambitious dreamer. As players progress through the city, they will pass windows looking out at various sea creatures living their lives, see concerning leaks in the structures of the city, and even take a little walk on the sea floor on occasion.

Of course, the undersea aspect isn’t incredibly important to the game, itself. However, Rapture just wouldn’t be the same without the constant reminders that the player is surrounded by water the entire time.

Ecco the Dolphin

Perhaps you’re looking for something a bit more retro than the games of today. Ecco the Dolphin is a great adventure game that allows players to explore 2D ocean levels in ways that only a dolphin can. This classic title is fun to play, great to explore, and still beautiful to look at today.

It first released in 1992, but has been made available digitally in recent years. You can get it on Steam for 99 cents. It’s also available on iOS, Xbox Live Arcade, Nintendo’s Virtual Console, and Nintendo 3DS.


If you’re a big fan of the Ecco the Dolphin series, but have played those games many times since they released, then Aquaria may be worth a look. This side-scrolling action game was released in 2007 and touches on many of the same notes that our previous entry did.

This award-winning PC game features some nice underwater levels to get lost in. Plus, these levels are scattered with plenty of secrets and enemies to contend with. The story featured in Aquaria and the music that completes the package may even make this game one of the more memorable ones on this list. It’s available on Steam.

What are your favorite water-based video games? Tell us in the comments below!

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