You are a musical little sperm, dancing your way through hypnotic rhythms toward a nice egg in these trying times.
Okay, I’m not 100% sure that this game is actually about fertilization, but it’s all I can think about when I gaze upon this meditative little experience. Is it a game? Kind of, but I think it’s more of a toy or a fidget. You float through pretty 2D worlds full of glowing plants and abstract pastel shapes, catching rhythmic pulses of light and sound, creating melodies with your movement. It looks like a more art-directed Rez; or it’s a reminder to get high, take some deep breaths, and turn off your brain-noise before bed.
There are a few little hiccups in the experience that may keep it from being completely meditative; if you're using a Switch controller with Steam, you might have to go through a confusing button-remapping experience (but that's not Onde's fault, it's Valve's for making a lousy interface). Some of the mechanics of the game, which involve riding on the edge of ripples, are not always immediately intuitive, and because the pace of the action is so gradual and peaceful, missing a beat can set you back with a sloooow replay process to recover your previous progress. But it's hard to stay frustrated with the game, thanks to the serene trance-like music and lovely organic shapes. Like gazing into a mountain pond while enjoying a particularly effective psychedelic substance, Onde soothes more than it stresses.
Onde releases on March 17, 2022 for PC, with Switch and iOS versions promised later this year.
Read about more of Matt Baume's top indie games for March right here.