Developed by UN JE NE SAIS QUOI and UMANIMATION, Dordogne takes its name from what it actually is—one of the largest areas in France. Players take control of Mimi, a young woman in between jobs and relationships, while also being estranged from her parents. She goes back to Dordogne after hearing of her grandmother’s passing, which gives players an opportunity to play through the various memories she had in Dordogne with her grandmother one summer.
At its core, the game is an objective-based point and click, with a little bit of a walking simulator mixed in. As Mimi explores her grandmother’s cottage looking for a box mentioned to her in a letter, she’ll recall times that bring her back to her childhood visit. From taking over her grandma’s journal to eventually inheriting a Polaroid camera and voice and tape recorder, it’s easy to get lost in Dordogne‘s watercolor world in Mimi’s eyes.
As beautiful as the game and story is, it isn’t without its problems. I experienced bugs while playing that only seemed to happen in more active moments. There’s one point in the story where a bunch of stuff ends up in the water, and you must dive in and pick them up using the analog sticks. During this segment, the left stick wouldn’t move any of Mimi’s arms, and I had to restart this instance. There’s another point towards the end of the game where you have to swim and avoid logs along the way, but a plot point in the game forces you to actually get hit by one to progress. When realizing that, I got hit by every log I saw and nothing happened.
I’m not an accessibility expert, but some questionable visual design choices bring the game down a notch too. Dordogne’s visual style is reminiscent of a picture-esque quality watercolor painting with a lot of whites and pastels. The main way the game indicates something is interactable is by highlighting items in white with a sort of glossy texture. This is hardly noticeable, and there were times where I didn’t know whether I was doing something wrong that prevented progress, but it was obviously because I couldn’t see something.
Lastly (while hardly important), my biggest peeve comes from the inability to return to specific chapters in the story for the sake of cleaning up the trophy list after completing the game. Achievements include typical feats like fetching all the collectibles in the game, but there are plenty of points of no return, and when trying to start a new game you’re forced to delete your previous save which saves right at the credits. The game is beautiful, and I want to platinum it since I have 50% of the trophies and the rest seem easy enough. There’s just no desire from me to repeat the four-hour story in full again just to get them.
Coming of age stories aren’t exactly rare in video games, especially when we’re talking about indie games. At a time where so many games demand our attention, titles should really be special these days to get that attention. It’s a little rough on the edges, but Dordogne accomplishes just that. It’s a beautiful story about a girl who seems lost in her life who eventually finds there really is meaning, and it’s stuff a realization we can easily appreciate today.