Dune! – Speeding in the Dunes

Nov 19, 2017
Arcade

Dune! is a platform speedster game that gives the player the opportunity to project a rolling ball through the dunes, using the rising and rolling terrain to jump up into the atmosphere.

In Dune, physics is both your enemy and your friend as you attempt to drive your ball across the peaks of the dunes to give you satisfactory air so as to break the sky limit and rack up points.

Using the simple controls of holding down on the screen to gain speed, letting go to gain air and again clicking to plummet downwards, you need to constantly monitor the upcoming terrain to determine the best possible time to thrust yourself upwards, reaching towards the skies and achieving your wildest dreams.

... reaching towards the skies and achieving your wildest dreams.

Your wildest dream, in this case, is being rewarded with a single, lonely point every time you break through the stratosphere. Why Dune doesn’t reward you with additional points for longer airtime is the immediate baffling question, as it doesn’t seem to matter how long you actually keep yourself in the air.

This aside, it is incredibly satisfying to stay in the air even if it isn’t rewarding through points, as the screen extends itself to give you a full illustration of the distance you’re covering while floating like a satellite through the atmosphere. This grand visual scaling gives you a sense of achievement, even if the game itself doesn’t seem to recognise it.

The intricacies of the physics engine used in Dune are difficult to grasp at first, as every little peak is slightly different from the one before it. The differences make it so that you need to be constantly predicting the result of accelerating or trying to jump this particular peak.

The differences make it so that you need to be constantly predicting the result of accelerating or trying to jump this particular peak.

The level itself ends when you manage to lurch into a complete stop, either through failing to accelerate sufficiently up a peak in the dunes or, most likely, by accidentally plummeting downwards into oblivion after getting awesome airtime.

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The game seems to expect that you’ll be so enamoured with your own ability to soar majestically that you’ll not quite realise you need to plan your descent intelligently, otherwise you’ll hit that peak just the wrong way, causing you to come to a flat stop.

Sometimes it can feel quite unfair when you lose a level, though. Though the physics must be consistent, it feels like a lot of times you die you should be able to keep rolling. The game seems determined to stop you sailing through the skies like a falling star, instead hoping you’ll dash yourself against the ground and be forced back to the beginning.

Dune manages to give the player the sense of achievement that so many games strive to do, encouraging the player to reach untold heights and distances with their jumps. If Dune also then aptly rewarded their successful flight with corresponding points, it would be a lot better.

Despite the lack of actual reward, Dune remains a fun little speedster game wherein you can practise your jumps and timings, moving forward through the level in pursuit of that beautiful high score.

Our Rating

ProsCons
Beautiful to soar through the skies like a majestic bird. The physics engine seems complete and satisfying to use – most of the time.The times it doesn’t feel satisfying are depressing. The game seems more focused on you dying than achieving awesome high scores.
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Rating
6/10
Dune!
Dune!
Developer:
Price: Free+

 

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Sam Eskenazi

Sam is a YouTuber, Streamer & Games Journalist. He loves to cook and listen to the sound of his own voice, ideally at the same time.

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