A quietly beautiful game of wandering and waiting.
Orchids to Dusk is a pay-what-you-want short ambient game created by Pol Clarissou, a game in which you play a lonely astronaut wandering an alien planet. After your crash landing, your oxygen supply quickly decreases. What will you do in your final minutes?
With your death clock counting down, Orchids beckons the player to wander the planet. Beautifully lush green, although small, lands are sprinkled throughout the landscape, surrounded by a never-ending desert. They feel like pockets of underwater life within the barren wastelands. The quiet music created by Marskye sets a soothing atmosphere. As you wander, you find yourself walking not to explore but to find a place to die.
Described as a networked wandering experience is what makes the world of Orchids so interesting. It is a persistent online world where you could be walking in another player’s footsteps. The areas you find have probably been explored by many other players before, creating a feeling of not quite being so alone.
After meandering for a while, your helmet starts to flash red. There’s not much time left. Stop wherever suits you. The astronaut seems timid, holding his hands together closing himself off from the inevitable. If you stand still long enough while waiting and admiring the pretty grove, a small but wonderful action happens. The astronaut sits down on their own as if they have accepted what is about to happen. The landscape also seems to agree and greenery sprouts up from the ground in a comforting manner, almost as if it sympathizes with the solemn situation. Another event happens where ghostly words and an image of a return key appear in front of you. “Take off helmet?” You can decide to make the inevitable happen sooner or wait it out. It’s a decision with two outcomes. This is the secret of the game for you to find out.
Orchids to Dusk is a calm and reflexive experience, creating a closeness between the player and landscape that is unique and personal. It places emphasis upon the decision of death; to take control or let fate run its course. It’s a short and sweet game and is available for free on itch.io.