Blue eyes, sand, and big bitey worms. If you’re a fan of beloved, janky ’80s movies or beloved, confusing ’60s sci-fi epics, then you’ll recognise these as the elements of Frank Herbert’s Dune. But oh, what’s this? This isn’t Dune — this is Starsand, a Switch game that looks like Dune and sounds like Dune, but is not Dune. And that’s not a bad thing.
Starsand plops its azure-eyed protagonist down onto a desert planet (not Arrakis) and instructs him to survive. It will then throw sandstorms at you, have your camp invaded by horrible sand-centipedes, threaten you with searing heat, biting cold, thirst, and hunger — and you’ll have to figure out how to survive it all.
There’s a point behind it all, too. Starsand’s crumbled desert ruins are home to long-forgotten scriptures, new weapons, and hints of the mystery that lies behind it all. Maybe you’re the sand worm. Wait, no, that’s Dune again.
Starsand is out today on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $19.99/£17.99, as well as on PS4/5, Xbox Series S|X, Xbox One, and PC.