If the heat that’s gripping much of the United States isn’t oppressive enough for you, now you can experience deadly temperatures in video game form. Arid is a free-to-play survival game created by students at the Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, and it’s a simulation that drops you into South America’s Atacama Desert and challenges you to make it out alive.
Arid has all the usual things you’d expect from a survival game, such as a focus on keeping your hydration and energy levels high. As befits the theme, sunburn is also a hazard, and massive sandstorms can further weaken your resolve.
On the bright side — or should I say, shady side — there are occasional safe refuges to explore, and you can also craft objects and food that will help you in your quest. There’s a day/night cycle, as well, and it’s easier to explore out of reach of the sun. There’s even lore to explore, as you delve for the stories of the desert’s former inhabitants.
For a quickly made student project — the first demo/prototype was released just 16 weeks ago — Arid looks pretty good and seems to do a fine job of conveying the game’s brutal conditions. The developers added a new area, Moon Valley, with the launch, and there’s a Hardcore mode that removes the Sun Exposure UI, so you’ll have to rely on your character’s sounds to know how much they’re suffering. Alternatively, if you want to play in true hardcore mode, just switch off your AC and open a window.