Trinkets And Camels: Lost In The Desert With Sandstorm

You can tell your Bactrian camel from your dromedary by checking the hump: Bactrians have two, like a sideways B, while dromedaries have one, like a D.

I have not completed Sandstorm [official site] yet. I don’t think I’ve completed its first level. I don’t even know if it has levels. The game sends players on a pilgrimage through a seemingly endless sandstorm with a cart of supplies and a camel that keeps wandering off, leaving us lost as the world swirls around us. I’ve enjoyed the confusion. It’s out now for $3 (£2) if you fancy a punt.

It’s made by Daniel Linssen, creator of zippy platformer The Sun and Moon. This is quite different.

I think all you need to do is travel eastwards for long enough to reach Mount Distant. You have a camel to yoke to your cart of supplies, and a few spears you can leave to mark locations. So, travel east – easy. Except the disorienting sandstorm constantly swirls the world around you, so east is never in the same direction on the screen. You do have a compass, but there’s a chance it’ll get lost in the desert when you rest for the night. You can find it nearby, but then you’ll need to retrace your footsteps to find your cart again, and footsteps are soon filled in by the sands. And your camel might wander off in the night. Or you might lose your clock. It can be easy to panic. End the night without your cart, and you’ll be forever stranded in the howling sands with only a mellow soundtrack for companionship.

Letters, trinkets, and secrets are hidden in the sands too, unlocking… something. I’m not sure what the secrets even are. But I know they’re out there, because a menu tells me I haven’t found any.

I know a little more about how it works, but shan’t tell you.

It’s one of those mysterious sorts of games submerged in murky waters (or burning sands) you need to reach down into to feel out the shape before you can haul it out. I’m not sure yet. But I have enjoyed blindly rubbing its ridges and testing its spikes.

3 Comments

  1. Stopsignal says:

    This looks like an interesting concept indeed!

  2. Assaf says:

    The soundtrack must be amazing

  3. SirBryghtside says:

    I’m a big fan of Linssen’s games (Roguelight’s my personal favourite), and this was no exception – made me feel totally lost in a really good way. I finished it in just over an hour, but it looks like there’s plenty of opportunity for replays – the bestiary is wonderful :)