A slice of life racing RPG that will be released later this year, Desert Child is one to watch. The indie game takes art inspiration from Cowboy Bebop and cites gameplay influences like Final Fantasy 8 and Vlambeer’s Luftrausers.
Starring a black protagonist, Desert Child is also one of several high profile games this year to feature lead characters of colour. Assassin’s Creed Origins and Dishonored: Death of the Outsider are just a couple of examples.
Desert Child Has All the Makings of a Must-Have Indie
In Desert Child, players assume the role of and up and coming hoverbike racer who must work hard to make it in this fast-paced world. Combining racing elements with RPG gameplay, the player character must hold down a job in order to upgrade and customize their hoverbike and pay the bills. Players will even find time to hunt bounties as well.
As the game has many little things to think about it could be easy for players to get distracted easily, but in an email, creator Oscar Brittain jokes that “Maybe I want players to feel overwhelmed?” The game includes parts designed specifically to grind and there are also parts that are “specifically are meant to give you so much to take in that you just feel lost,” explains the developer in an email.
Brittain cites The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt as a game that is “really fun” despite the fact that it can easily lead to players getting lost or sidetracked. Desert Child may offer a similar feeling but it comes with the underlying theme of “currency, wealth, and constant upward progression,” Brittain tells me. Desert Child looks phenomenal but it certainly isn’t all style and no substance if that is anything to go by.
If this sounds surprisingly complex for a racing game then you’re not alone in that shock. Desert Child‘s creator set out to make a game that has “the parts of RPGs and adventure games that I like: the worlds, the art, the cities. And I mashed that into a racing game, a genre that I really like, but often has no story.”
Not a great deal is known about the game’s story so far, as the Desert Child announcement trailer mostly focuses on the fantastically frenetic racing gameplay and the atmosphere. But Brittain explains that “the game has a bottle-neck narrative that gives you big open spaces to just make up your own story, but then reins you into specific points.” The developer also teases “a lot of choices” for players.
The racing genre could certainly do with a dose of story and a narrative about a “young, broke racer” is ripe for potential. We look forward to seeing how it plays out when Desert Child zooms into view later this year.
Desert Child will be released in 2017 on Windows PC. A demo is available here.
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