Desert Child Review

Desert Child is the first game by solo indie game dev Oscar Brittain. The game is an artistic simulation racing RPG set in a near future where people are moving to Mars. As a fully funded Kickstarter game there are some high hopes for this game from backers and gamers alike.

The game first takes place on Earth, where you only have a couple of days before making your way to your new home on Mars. The game doesn’t have much of a traditional narrative and instead allows you to take your time through a slice of this broke young racer’s life.  It’s about you making enough money to enter the big race, and finally becoming a renowned racer.

Gameplay wise it’s a mishmash of different things. The main meat of the gameplay is the hover bike racing action, the controls are smooth and the bike doesn’t feel clunky. However, the game tends to get tedious as the hover bike racing aspect doesn’t seem to evolve or change, with each race feeling like the same thing over and over again. The game had multiple versions of this racing though, with some being some sort of weird hacking game where you have to shoot windows logos and statues and collecting the cash that shoots out of them. The other part of the gameplay is the life simulation of the game where you can explore the world around you and eat to lower your hunger bar or eat some psychedelic beans and then go race while under the influence. You can also rob other people of their car parts in a QTE style mini game.

Visually the game has its charm with a unique pixel art style that’s reminiscent of old school rotoscoping that some animations used to use, like the original Disney movies. It has very different aesthetic and looks really funky in a good way I should mention. The music does the visuals justice having the same tone and feel as the art style and really brings the world to life. Although I do find it a little annoying seeing the same person walk past my character 4 times in a row, but it’s more of nitpicking thing really.

The game isn’t without its issues, as I mentioned earlier the game does get tedious as everything just feels like you’re doing the same thing. That’s a pretty huge flaw if you don’t enjoy 2D racing, but if you really enjoy it this game will scratch that itch with unlimited races you can literally race your life away. The game also seems to lack structure, I understand this is probably a design choice, but I sincerely believe every game (or any activity in life to be honest) should have some structure, as without it I just feel I’m wasting my time without really accomplishing anything. The game does sort of guide you toward the big race, but it just feels optional which doesn’t really make it such a big achievement.

Overall, Desert Child isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either. It accomplishes what it set out to do but, unfortunately, it needed to increase its scope to include more variety and should have had a more structured narrative that helps guide the player slowly to the big race, rather than being thrown in a pseudo sandbox and wade around until I accidentally find the poster telling me about the big race. So in conclusion, It’s fun for a while and doesn’t really have much substance but for what it set out to do, it satisfies that.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to

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Desert Child Review
  • Gameplay - 7/10
  • Graphics - 7/10
  • Sound - 7/10
  • Replay Value - 7/10
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It’s fun for a while and doesn’t really have much substance but for what it set out to do, it satisfies that.