Wandering around the desolate foreign planet you've recently crash landed upon in free walking simulator Orchids To Dusk [official site] is a somber yet wonderful experience. With only a few minutes to live, you take control of a desperate astronaut who's got nothing but the vast plains that stretch out effortlessly in front of her, a quickly depleting oxygen supply, and the soothing electronic melodies which set the tone to keep her company.
Created by Pol Clarissou - who's part of French collective Klondike - with music by Marskye, Orchids To Dusk is described as "a short networked contemplative wandering experience." When I first plunged my spacecraft into the sand-swept alien planet, I had a poke around my ship to see if it were fixable. It wasn't, so I set off in the direction of what looked like a patch of trees and vegetation, jutting out from above the horizon. As I shuffled away, an explosion behind me marked my visit permanent.
I arrived at the green archipelago with just 4% oxygen remaining. I sat down as I did so a fogged out image of the return key began to vibrate across the screen alongside the prompt "take off helmet?". I was isolated, and doubted I'd ever find another living soul. I hit return and my character grasped the edge of her helmet. Are you sure? I clicked again. My character curled into a ball and...well, I'll let you discover the secret for yourself.
Orchids To Dusk is pay-what-you-want on Itch.io. It was made with support from KO-OP Mode's KOLAB funding program, which previously helped Gardenarium. You might also remember the Klondike collective from our posts on games such as Naut, Porapora, Offline and Even The Stars. Their full catalog is over here.