Originally released on Steam last year, the Nintendo Switch version of Dune Sea came out a few months ago as well. No, this is not a Star Wars game, don’t be fooled. We’re not talking about the desert on the Outer Rim of Tatooine. Dune Sea is a 2D side-scrolling adventure game where you fly around as a Goose. I expected a little bit of adventuring but this is actually a relaxing (and for some maybe even meditative) game by developer Frolic Labs.
We played Dune Sea for over 3 hours on the Nintendo Switch.
What we liked!
- Beautiful graphics: The artstyle that Dune Sea uses is absolutely stunning. I feel like it’s very calm and adorable, fitting right in with the relaxing goal of the game. The colors are vibrant, but not too ‘in your face’. It’s a very simple graphical style, that uses polygons that make up shapes. The birds themselves stand out a little since they are darker, and are shaped a little differently. However, it’s the landscapes that make the graphics in this game worthwhile.
- Relaxing music: The overall soundtrack is very suiting, and of course, relaxing. You can also hear the whooshing of the wind and the flapping of your goose’s wings. A fun little addition is that when you bump into something (when you’re in classic mode), you’ll hear a loud noise, indicating that you failed. This sound is significantly louder than the other sounds.
- Gameplay: I had mixed feelings about the overall gameplay. Dune Sea offers two game modes; classic and zen. This is really nice because if you want a bit of a challenge, you go for classic. But if you just want to chill a little, you jump into zen mode, meaning you can simply fly around without the fear of flying into rocks or whatever. Even during a level, you can switch between these two options. You can also collect items along the way, like seeds to fill up your stamina bar. Every level also has one or more special flowers to collect, but these are usually hidden, and I wasn’t very good at finding them. Now, for the lesser parts. It feels like Dune Sea doesn’t actually have a goal. I guess this won’t bother everyone, but for me personally, this was an obstacle. I felt like I was just flying around with no destination, waiting to reach the end while avoiding rocks and whatnot. This made the gameplay a tad boring and quite repetitive. Luckily, the different landscapes provide a bit of variation at least.
What we disliked
- Mechanics: Flying your goose felt a bit uneasy at times, especially when you try and turn him around to fly back a little. Because of this, I tried not to fly back unless it was really necessary. Besides this, it sometimes wasn’t clear if there was an obstacle in the way, like a rock, or if it was just in the background and I could just continue my course. This made me crash into things a few times, and luckily there were resting spots (or saving points), but it shouldn’t be this difficult to figure out if you’re going to crash or not.
- No explanation: The gameplay is pretty straightforward but still lacks explanation. For example, at first, I had no idea that the bar in the right corner was my stamina, and I needed to gather the seeds floating around to recharge that bar. The resting spots are great, but again, I didn’t realize those charged the bar as well. A little tutorial or something showing this, and telling you about the special moves and the fact that those use quite a lot of stamina, would be nice.
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