Desert Child has interesting ambitions that never quite develop into an enjoyable experience
A low-fi hoverbike racer with oodles of charm and style, but not a lot under the hood.
Desert Child is built upon the promise of solid ideas that don’t quite come together. And sadly, they’re so deeply intertwined that a mistake in one aspect of the game critically injures the other part of the game.
Desert Child certainly won't be for everyone, but players who approach the game without expectations will be treated to a lighthearted and amusing experience that doesn't overstay its welcome.
At its best, Desert Child captures the feeling of working toward a big dream while struggling to even buy your next meal. Unfortunately, those moments come sandwiched between a lot of repetition as the initially fun races become a chore that you have to do over and over again. Desert Child's unique setting, filled out with great art and a killer soundtrack, is fun to explore for a while, but the game runs out of gas a little too quickly.
Desert Child is stylistically fantastic and has some of the more exciting racing gameplay we've seen this year, but it really suffers from its short length. There's an interesting, colourful world to explore in Olympia, but unfortunately things ends when it feels like Desert Child is just getting started. Still, it's an admirable effort from a talented one-man team.
Desert Child is a confusing game and parsing whether it has deeper meanings that are unclear, or just non-existent, is exceedingly frustrating.
There was a lot of potential in Desert Child, but the slick presentation and amazing soundtrack only seem to mask what ends up being shallow gameplay. Racing feels good at first, but an entire game where that’s the only thing you do gets tiring pretty fast.
Desert Child has its moments, but most of the experience feels shallow. The repetitiveness of wandering through the town after each race was more of a distraction than anything. The retro-inspired pixel art is enjoyable, and most of the game's music works within the racing setting, but I had to mute the game when walking through the town.
Desert Child is a real tribute to some of the greatest 90s pop culture, and it is also a good and innovative racing game.
Review in Italian | Read full review
Desert Child is one of those “love-it-or-hate-it” titles. On one hand, it's got a great soundtrack and excellent visuals. On the other, its gameplay is dull and repetitive. Be sure you know what you're getting into with this one.
Though its pixellated visuals and bright environments do provide brief pleasantries in the first hour or so, the little variety in its missions and very reason to stay invested other than grinding until the climax results in a game caught between two minds, committing, sadly, to neither one in the process.
Desert Child is certainly a different type of release that puts you in the shoes of a young guy who must find the balance between racing (work) and fixing his vehicle and eating (life). This release is not for everyone, but it is still enjoyable as a unique style of experience.
Desert Child strikes is a fun indie title that balances being a racer, a RPG, and being unconventionally cool.
From the gorgeous pixel art to the incredible soundtrack, Desert Child looks outstanding. Looks can be deceiving though, and it's clear that much more time was spent on crafting a distinct style than fine-tuning gameplay. If you've so much as watched a trailer for Desert Child, you've already experienced everything worth seeing in the game.
Desert Child's final outcome is not enough to secure a completely satisfying experience. While its game play can be pleasant, but equally limited. After several hours its game play loop ends up disappointing and the initial curiosity to explore its beautiful city and mechanics loses itself on what is a forgettable quest, despite the excellent soundtrack.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
Desert Child is an ambitious cyberpunk racer that feels more like a preview of what could be a truly terrific game, hampered by short length and lack of gameplay variety.
An aesthetically pleasing game is worthless if its gameplay is repetitive, dull and unimaginative. Oscar Brittain seems to not have realized that on time, unfortunately, and Desert Child ended up becoming another beautiful but extraordinarily shallow indie game.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
There seems to be a seed for what could be a decent game in Desert Child but it honestly feels unfinished. If the focus had been on the action of the racing and slowly layering more elements to that action with some progression I would have probably been fine just stopping there. At least it would have had a clear focus and the central activity could have remained interesting through slowly and smartly evolving. Instead you’ll quickly find yourself wasting your time walking around a city for no really good reason beyond demonstrating some artistic flair with different angles in each area and playing through variations on the same theme over and over again. Perhaps an audience can dig in and find the enjoyment but with so many better conceived games on the eShop it’s hard to give Desert Child a recommendation.
There’s no denying Desert Child is a stylish and unique RPG, but beneath its striking facade, it’s simply too hollow to make a mark. The racing is repetitive, the side-activities lack variety and the lack of technical fidelity is too noticeable to avoid, overall, making this bland racer an underwhelming disappointment.