Here’s something to mollify the ceaseless march towards decrepitude. Desert Child [itch.io page] is a stylish sidescrolling shooter where you ride a hoverbike across the sandy remains of a half-deserted earth in an attempt to escape the planet and fulfill your racing dreams on Mars. You need $500 to get a ticket and you’ll need to keep your bike in good working nick and your belly full of cheap noodles while you’re at it. I’ve had a go. It’s not easy (it even feels a little broken in terms of balance) but it is still in early development, so cut a hoverbiker some slack and look at this phwoar trailer.
It looks sharp, as you can see. You boost forward and shoot TVs to collect the money that spills out, then you need to fill up your ammo mid-race by approaching the back of a truck along the way. You have some opponents trying to do the same and it quickly introduces more obstacles like machine gun bots and flamethrower turrets. In between these races you need to keep your bike fixed from any damage it has taken and eat some cheap food, otherwise your bike’s boost charges slower and you become sloppy. It’s more of a good-looking prototype at the minute, but here’s how the developer Oscar Brittain sees things panning out:
It’s the story of a broke young racer who fights through gangsters, bounty hunters and pancake cravings to enter the Grand Prix and get off Earth before it E-X-P-L-O-D-E-S (metaphorically).
The player begins their story on a ruined Earth, with just a few days to get enough money to get to Mars. From there, you’ll win races, customize your bike, and earn fans, but at the same time, you’ll have to work jobs, cook dinner, and pay rent. Nothing’s free in Desert Child.
He’s definitely broke. I got immediately trashed on the first race and was forced to pawn a load of bikebits for repair money and noodles, then the next race was a disaster in which I seemed to lose the ability to boost completely and became stuck in a position where I could never catch up to the ammo truck. I’m still not sure how boost exactly functions in-race, hopefully the whole thing will be better explained in future versions. It may simply be my bad reflexes. There is a lot going on in these contests. Anyway, there you go, a small freebie to distract you from the encroaching destitution of your frail human form. Enjoy!