You want to be that next big racer kid? Well then you better get up and make your way to Mars. In this head bobbing hip-hop treat developed by Oscar Brittain you play as a racer just trying to make it in a crazy time. You run into another racer named Lady Scarlet who tells you if you really want to make it in the racing game you need to head to Mars. So with that piece of advice you save up enough cash and head that way. There is plenty to do on Mars and not all of it is legal. Warning though, get too much notoriety and the police start to watch you. That is not a good thing in Desert Child.
Things to Do
The easy life is over kid, now it is time to earn a name and some money. The main goal on Mars is to earn enough cash to enter the Grand Prix. That is the big boy race. In order to do this though you will need to take more low-key races that will earn you some cash flow for the time being. Unfortunately if that was all you focused on it would probably take you awhile to save up enough dough. Don’t worry though, there are other ways to make that money on Mars. Do you want to take the more honest approach? Sure why not. Well head on over to what I call the “Job Board” and pick out an honest living. There you can herd kangaroos (I didn’t know Mars had Kangaroos) or you can be a bounty hunter and chase down criminals. All of this is done on your hover bike of course. How cool is that? Pretty damn cool. Want more of a leisurely job head to the pizza shack and deliver some pies. I promise it will be the best time you have ever had delivering pizzas, seriously.
If you are one of those bad boy types though you can head to the nightlife area and take on some of the more lucrative jobs, remember the notoriety thing though. Here you can do a few shady jobs like throw a race but again, it’s your decision to make. Once you get a few coins in your pocket you will certainly want to buy all the songs in the game. This is one of the biggest highlights of the game. That funky music playing in the background will have you bobbing your head, guaranteed. So save up a little and then head over to the record shop or go there right away, nothing is stopping you from previewing the music.
After hanging around Mars for a bit and getting a few races under your belt you need to eat and fix your bike. There are a couple of shops you can fix your bike at, one being at a convenient location but it is a little higher in price. Need to eat? No worries. There are plenty of spots to find some grub at in a pinch. You can grab a pizza, eat some noodles or even buy some fresh fish from a fisherman. Yeah Mars has no shortage of food but be careful eating the snack pack. Wink, wink.
Hey but what should I do with all this cash from my winnings? Well if you have been a tad naughty I would suggest putting that money in the bank because you DO NOT want to get caught by the police carrying around all that cash. Plus an added bonus the money actually earns interest in the bank, not like the phony stuff the banks tell you in the real world. Funny story, I had enough money in the bank to enter the Grand Prix several times and didn’t even know it. How you ask? Because I was having so much fun racing and delivering dang pizzas I forgot to go to the bank. Luckily I was being on my best behavior. If you ever get tired from having so much fun you can chill out on your bike. No joke. You can just hang out and chill on your bike and there is a trophy if you do it long enough. You know if you’re in to that kind of thing.
How about the racing? Saddle up buddy because you are in for a ride. Okay not sure if that made sense. Anyways, the racing is fun as you race against another character to the finish line. However in Desert Child you are outfitted with a gun and boosters. You will need this in order to score more points during the race. You can shoot TV’s to score points or some that’ll drop a little extra cash for you. Be careful though running into things will damage your bike or the other player can shoot you and mess you up. The more damage you take the less of a score you will get. You want that “A” you need that “A” in order to get as much cash as possible. Don’t forget about winning the race though, silly. I never found it difficult to win a race though a few times I hit some things towards the end which will slow you down and it lost me the race. If you do have trouble winning though go to the bean shop as some of the beans you eat there will give you buffs like max ammo. Not all beans are good though and some can have a negative effect so pay attention. The races do not vary as much as I would have liked and at times can become a jumbled mess causing you to run into objects.
Pay attention to your bike as you can upgrade your gun or put other attachments for different attributes. For instance, one attachment will give you a percentage off at one of the shops if you use it on your bike. I admittedly didn’t use the other attachments for long as I wanted to fully upgrade my gun. Bigger gun and more bullets make it a lot easier to score higher points. You can buy these upgrades at a shop or you can steal them off of other hover bikes around. If you don’t successfully disable the alarm though you better put your running shoes on because the police might come after you.
Desert Child for me was something unique and refreshing. It isn’t overly complicated and it wants you to laugh. You will find jokes as soon as the game starts in the menu. This game entertains you with its music and its art style which is spot on in most cases. Taking a stroll and bobbing my head to the beats never felt so good. The races are fun even if they become a little underwhelming after a bit but there are things to balance that out. Delivering pizzas or running from the cops just made it all worth it. Is the title a must buy though? I would say yes and no. If you enjoy chill games with a more unique art style then yes, you will be happy with this game. If not, then no, you will not enjoy this game. The game is very short and there was an instance where I had to start the game all over because of a glitch. The game isn’t without some flaws. The pacing can at times be too slow and I never noticed an option to change the music to what I wanted to hear. That bummed me out a little. It can become repetitive but the game isn’t long enough for it to become super annoying. Priced at $11.99 it’s not a terrible deal but you might want to check out some gameplay footage before making your purchase. It’s a fine line with Desert Child but one that I happily walked down.
A review copy of the game was provided for the PlayStation 4.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10