Desert Child for the Nintendo Switch
In our day, to really set your game apart from the rest, you gotta do something different. Sometimes, different is just too hard, or not safe financially. Desert Child is something else: an RPG where you take on the role of a hoverbiker trying to earn cash. You’ll do it any way possible, and getting the upper hand on Mars sometimes involves doing illegal things. Oh yeah, you have to eat, too.
Desert Child starts out on Earth, where your goal is to go to Mars. In just a little bit of playtime, the game finally starts. You’ll explore the streets of a city on Mars, looking for ways to earn money, feed yourself, acquire bike parts, or repair your bike. The ultimate goal: Earn money to get to the big race. Deliver pizza, upset a race, or even racing with a friend locally will net you cash.
This starts the loop of repetition in Desert Child. Explore the city. Eat, repair your bike, then race. Earn money, repeat. This progression loop may seem tedious. For some, it might be. Exploring the city isn’t the fastest process, and it can be frustrating when you can’t find your way. But once you find a job, and you hop onto the bike, the game feels fresh and new again.
During a bike race, the player is thrust into a stretch with obstacles, enemies, and money boxes (TV’S). There are different objectives. Maybe you’re testing out a new gun. Maybe you’re delivering pizza. Or, it’s just a typical race. You’ll have ammo, and your bike. Boost forward, or boost to the side. When you run out of ammo, boost into a truck to replenish your stock. While a simple concept, the racing becomes so much deeper.
Crazy Funky Style
Let’s talk about the art direction in Desert Child. It is crazy good. I’ve never seen pixel-art look quite like this: minimalism mixed with detail and a realistic shape. The world of Desert Child is just as interesting. Each area features different angles of view, and each area has a distinct personality. It’s a crazy city, and it has become my favorite interpretation of sci-fi Mars so far.
The OST is Incredible
The OST (Original Sound Track) is amazing. I’d buy the soundtrack personally. My favorite song is the pizza delivery song. The lyrics are pretty funny to be sung, plus its catchy! Do yourself a favor when you play and listen to the soundtrack. It is worth it!
Customization- Modify your Play
Besides your bike, you have weapons, abilities, perks, and discounts (let me get there). There are a few different weapons, each with their own quirks. From a central battery, you can add bike parts, but they must be connected to a sort of conduit part. Weapons are separate, but perks and modifiers are part of this “parts” system. If you want to “shamelessly advertise”, you can get discounts on food or other material goods by winning in races, or achieving some factor.
The Morality of Desert Child
Remember how I said you have to earn money any way you can? It really means that. You build up an attention meter type thing, and if it gets too high, you’re screwed. Wanna upset a race? Do it. Wanna hack a bank? Do it. Maybe you want something low-key. Deliver pizza? Yeah, do it. Desert Child has its own system of morality, and at times you may not like it. But that’s what makes Desert Child so great!
Desert Child is a fun RPG. With a funky world, amazing art and soundtrack, and racing that never gets old, you’ll realize that Desert Child belongs up with the likes of Undertale in what it does right. While traversing the city may be frustrating, and the repetition loop may be frustrating, Desert Child doesn’t have any major flaws, in my opinion. It’s that type of game that could become a classic.
Reviewed by Jack Bankhead on the Nintendo Switch. Game provided by Akupara games.