Dune Sea – Review
Follow Genre: Platform Adventure
Developer: Frolic Labs
Publisher: Frolic Labs
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Dune Sea – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Casual gameplay, Beautiful scenery
Bad: Extremely short
User Score
8.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (3 votes cast)

Frolic Labs might not be the most well-known indie developer around, but a simple look on their site will let you know this Canadian developer has been busy since 2013. Dune Sea is their first game to launch on Steam though, allowing you to take flight as a bird (a Canadian goose to be precise) and explore a post-apocalyptic world full of danger for feathered friends such as yourself.

Story

Dune Sea starts with a short cutscene. The cutscene shows a world not unlike ours at first glance, but with no humans to be seen and plenty of animals, including a flock of geese. A comet comes along and strikes the desert, destroying a big chunk of the scenery and worse still, leaving you all by yourself, without your fellow bird brethren. Seems like it will be up to you to find them again, flying eastward through many different terrains to reunite with your flock. Quite frankly this is as much depth as the story in the game gets since there is no narration and very little other cutscenes or lore to be found. You are free to theorize yourself on the exact nature of the comet if you’re really interested, just don’t expect the game to spell out the answers to your questions.

Graphics

Without a doubt, Dune Sea is one of the prettier indie games to look at. A lot of effort clearly went into designing the various areas you explore and it paid off, as all of them are different enough from each other to be unique while still feeling like they blend into one world naturally. While the addition of random environmental objects on both the background and foreground do a lot to make the scenery feel more dimensional than the usual side-scroller would, the distinction isn’t always as clear as it should be. Sometimes it’s a bit too easy to fly into things because you can’t tell if they’re solid and need to be avoided, or just there for decoration.

Sound

The soundtrack of Dune Sea fits perfectly with the atmosphere of the game. Some would describe it as similar to games such as Journey, you can expect peaceful instrumental music which ultimately makes the experience of playing the game very relaxing. There are some sound effects, usually to indicate you collected something important or solved a puzzle which does fit in perfectly, only disturbed slightly by the one you get for crashing into objects or the ground: an almost hilariously out of place sounding thud which will be jarring at first, but is pretty funny once you’re used to it.

Gameplay

Dune Sea is a platform adventure where you play a bird, flying and dodging your way through increasingly dangerous areas while occasionally solving small puzzles. Some practice will be required in the beginning, as flying isn’t the easiest to learn and you can’t change the controls. After a while, you will get the hang of it though, and you will find yourself gliding through the levels, quite literally so. At first, you will only be avoiding the ground, as well as the occasional cliffside, but as you progress other dangers will start crossing your paths, such as moving boulders and strange black plants that can reach out with their vines.

Death is pretty much a guarantee, but luckily all twelve chapters have plenty of checkpoints. Once passing these checkpoints, you will be able to continue the chapter from there upon dying. Some checkpoints also serve as landing platforms that you can use to refill your stamina, needed to fly. Stamina can also be restored by collecting the floating dandelion fluff. There are also optional things to collect, such as golden flowers, for those who want to do so as they’re very hard to get at later on.

Another thing to gather is a flock of birds. At times you will encounter other birds from differing species who you can honk at, prompting them to join you in your flight. Sometimes having a flock is required by the game to proceed, so it is always useful to take these opportunities when they present themselves, though it’s easy to turn back if needed. The puzzles in the game are also quite simple, such as having you fly through a series of hoops.

Conclusion

While Dune Sea isn’t the most challenging game out there, leaning more into casual entertainment than anything else, the pretty visuals and relaxing soundtrack won’t disappoint those looking for a short experience to occupy an evening with. Despite some minor complaints, if you’re looking for a change of pace in your gaming repertoire, Dune Sea comes to mind as the bird-themed adventure you want.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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Dune Sea - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Jessica
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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