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Dordogne Review

Straight out of a watercolouring book

Offering a deeply psychological and meaningful experience, Dordogne is a watercolour masterpiece. Publisher Focus Entertainment and developers Umanimation and Une je ne sais quoi have been working on the game for several years and it is now finally available. The hard work and love they have all put into this game is remarkable, and I highly recommend watching their livestreams of their artists building the game.

As you enter the game, you instantly feel connected to the protagonist Mimi, as you begin to fill in the blanks of their childhood mystery. Players help her return to her recently deceased grandmother’s home after receiving a letter about the tragic loss. It’s a place she hasn’t visited in years due to her father severing ties with her grandparents long ago. Strangely enough, Mimi can’t remember what transpired during that summer, which led to her father’s decision. So you strap on your best detective gear and explore the French countryside in this side-scroller adventure title, solving delightful puzzles and unlocking Mimi’s memories.

Mimi is a compelling protagonist

The enigmatic nature of her memories creates psychological tension in the game, encouraging players forward. The gameplay contains two distinct parts, the adult Mimi and the child Mimi. Adult Mimi looks for clues and begins to sort through the trail of evidence tied to that fateful summer over two decades ago. In the present, rain falls, colours appear muted, and Mimi is alone, constantly receiving text messages that remind her of the fractured relationships with her loved ones. The gameplay is eery and slow, skulking about the hallways of a once-busy house, searching for meaning at every turn. Mimi is determined to discover the truth and the game does a good job of making sure you are too.

In complete contrast, 10-year-old Mimi is living her best life – exploring, creating memories, and slowly warming to country life. The quick-paced, adventure-filled gameplay is delightfully opposite to the present day Mimi, perhaps a comment on how heartbreaking it can be to grow up. I loved collecting photos, stickers and words while reliving the memories of little Mimi. Paying attention to the small things will aid you in getting the most out of this game. Combined with the delightfully impactful 3D watercolour world, really demonstrates the game’s strengths within storytelling. It’s truly a beautiful experience.

The colours within the game are the ultimate storyteller

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Players encounter various puzzles throughout Dordogne, sometimes in the most surprising places. Emphasising the process over the difficulty, puzzles are not overly challenging, ensuring players slow down and engage with the environment in meaningful ways.

Players intimately interact with various objects, from stickers to toys to food, as almost everything has a personal significance to Mimi, unlocking powerful memories for her – so much so players are transported back in time to ‘relive’ the moment. These transitions happen at seemingly random times but add to the curious nature of the game as you never know when you’ll transition. Individually, these moments may not carry great weight, but together they can shape a transformative experience for a child, something we see in the game and know from our real lives. Travelling back and forward in time can be confusing, so the game’s addition of a journal is a fantastic way of keeping track of the moments that have passed. You will fill the book in with photographs, stickers and even sound clips, and I particularly enjoyed the poetry you could add – the options are limited by your exploration so make sure you look closely at everything.

In the end, players uncover the mysteries behind the world of Mimi’s fateful summer and they find themselves with a pleasant sense of fulfillment. I loved looking back on my book of memories to show where I had been throughout the game. As a self-confessed sentimentalist, Dordogne feels like a love letter to all that have experienced family heartbreak in childhood.

The collectibles in the game fun and have a strong link to your journey through the game

Final Thoughts

Dordogne’s strengths lie within its storytelling, making it very easy to empathise and resonate with the protagonist’s journey. I definitely recommend this to any gamer out there wanting a relaxing but intriguing game experience.

Reviewed on PC // Review code supplied by publisher

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Dordogne Review
Memory in watercolour
Dordogne is a beautiful watercolour adventure through childhood mystery, suitable for the cosiest of gamers.
The Good
Sensational art
Deep and meaningful message
Charmingly juxtaposed storylines
The Bad
Character can get stuck on the simplest of corners as adult Mimi or rocks and little Mimi
Walking around can feel slightly robotic and slow at times
8
Get Around It
  • UN JE NE SAIS QUOI / UMANIMATION
  • Focus Entertainment
  • PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X|S / Xbox One / Switch / PC
  • June 14, 2023

Dordogne Review
Memory in watercolour
Dordogne is a beautiful watercolour adventure through childhood mystery, suitable for the cosiest of gamers.
The Good
Sensational art
Deep and meaningful message
Charmingly juxtaposed storylines
The Bad
Character can get stuck on the simplest of corners as adult Mimi or rocks and little Mimi
Walking around can feel slightly robotic and slow at times
8
Get Around It
Written By Rhiannen Austin

An effervescent gamer who has an affinity for games involving wheels, she thrives in the high-speed excitement of racing experiences or realms where magic is required. Her passion for gaming and advocacy for women in the industry makes her a dynamic force, inspiring others in any realm she may find herself.

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