The Dordogne is my sun review

The Dordogne is my sun. review

played At personal computer

Amnesia is one of the most annoying and common tropes in video games. It is very easy to get acquainted with the simultaneous happenings both for the player and for the main character, who has completely forgotten about the world around him. And even the greats who made games like Planescape: Torment and Disco Elysium don’t shy away from this technique. The authors of the Dordogne followed the same path. The heroine of this story does not suffer from amnesia or delirium tremens – only one month that she spent with her grandmother as a child has completely disappeared from her memory. And we’re going to help her remember that. What’s the intrigue, right? .. And yet you will agree with me – in the depths of your soul there is a slight fear: What happened that she preferred to just put it out of her mind? We are dealing with Mimi, a 32-year-old advertising agency employee who received a letter from her grandmother for the first time in twenty years – unfortunately after her death.

    This Citroen.  The game is definitely very French - from the first frames

That Citroen… The game is definitely very French from the very first frames

The house in the Dordogne, in the southwest of France, not far from Bordeaux, is completely covered with grapes, the garden has grown, even trees are growing in the house itself – Nora started to farm a little when she was old. And her son – Mimi’s father – did not want to take his daughter there at all after the death of her grandmother. What secrets does this house on the hill hold? Are we really waiting for another raking of skeletons out of closets along the lines of, say, “Rustle”?

Entering the empty house (the key barely turned, the door creaked open), Mimi picks up an object that looks familiar to her… and falls into the past. Mimi is 12 years old, her father brought her to Nora’s house to spend a month there. However, her beloved grandfather recently died, her friends stayed in Paris and she is not close to her grandmother. It seems like a boring month, after that it’s back to school. Dad why?

    There really is a lot of beauty here, spreading right across the screen in the Dordogne - if of course you value beautiful art in games rather than pure realism

There really is a lot of beauty here, in the Dordogne it spills straight across the screen – unless you value fine art in games rather than stark realism

Okay, I won’t torment – the house on the hill does without a ghost. On the contrary – the atmosphere of withering at the beginning of the game is very quickly replaced by August, which is already autumn, but still unbearably muggy and full of adventure. Mimi will gradually remember this and recall what was probably the happiest and at the same time the happiest month of her life, which finally destroyed a family.

Dordogne is exactly what it seems in the first pictures I saw four years ago. It’s drawn in a watercolor style that’s not unique in itself, but rarely seen in games – with a special character all of its own. It is logical – behind the game is the UMANIMATION studio, which deals with animation projects at the intersection of different arts. Games are something new for them and like something alien. This is more of a personal project of one of the studio staff, Cedric Babouch, who decided to bring his childhood memory or his fantasy about this memory to life, mixing everyday comfort and adventure in the spirit of the stories about Huckleberry Finn and vividly mixing everything about the incredible nature of the Dordogne, a region not least known for its rich finds from the world of primitive peoples.

    Sometimes you have to choose an emotional response for Mimi, and those are going to be pretty powerful moments - even in frame

Sometimes you have to choose an emotional response for Mimi, and those are going to be pretty powerful moments – even in frame

There is something primitive about the game itself. No, rather not primitive, but original – like happiness through contact with a loved one. Happiness is clouded. Living with Mimi and Nora for a month, kayaking with them, weeding the garden and strolling around the market in search of the best vegetables, we simultaneously come into contact with some fragments of the past and show the complexity of relationships between people, including relatives. Something to argue between mother and son. Sow discord between the teacher and the beloved student. Break the sadness on the brightest, sunny day. It’s not just that Nora sleeps a lot – as if doing so will shorten the amount of time she still has to spend in this world without her beloved husband.

But those cracks in the crust of the universe turn out to be unimportant in the end – Mimi digs deeper into the past and reminisces about her month. She not only understands a lot, but also restores immediacy in relations with loved ones. As a father of a one-year-old, I see that happiness every day – when you make a person smile simply by the fact of their existence, when that smile appears with a new day, when every new person wants to wave their hand and invite them into their small (but ever-growing) life. This will undoubtedly pass, life will taste bitter – but the Dordogne speaks of these feelings; without entering childhood territory, but after the fact, removing the bitterness from the memories and restoring a sense of connection – both with loved ones and with the sun, the garden, the river and the balloons in the sky.

    At the end of each chapter we create a “portrait of the day” – also with the help of poetry.

At the end of each chapter we create a “portrait of the day” – also with the help of poetry.

But it is necessary to say a few words not only about the emotional side of the Dordogne, but also about what kind of game it is. Behind the sunny, almost flat watercolor backdrop (which by the way has 3D character models inscribed into it quite nicely and the camera does tricky pretzels to maintain the sense of space) lies a formally rather simple adventure. We spend time playing mini-games, sometimes elegant, sometimes rather clumsy – they actually consist of life: pour tea into a cup, pull out weeds, put the key in the keyhole (by the way, it’s unbearably difficult at the beginning – the authors should create an alcohol simulator). They dilute the main process a bit – walking through some, but inevitably picturesque environments, where we meet other characters (most of them make an appearance at all – this is a very focused story), collecting collectibles, and also taking photos and recording sounds.

Yes, yes, another project with an in-game photo – now on an old Polaroid. But combined with the ability to also write sounds with a microphone and a tape recorder and then put the impressions into an album in random order, it’s very reminiscent of SEASON: A Letter to the Future. It’s unlikely that the creators of these two games interacted or took inspiration from each other in any way – but the coincidence is amazing. And I think that’s no coincidence.

    I speak French

I speak French

These two works are a little similar in their sunny beauty – and almost opposite in their emotional coloring. The bright but hopeless sadness of SEASON and the happiness regained in Dordogne’s memories. But the most important thing here is still common: both games address the past, which cannot be returned and which, unlike the present, was simply filled with great meaning. And you know, that feeling is very responsive in the present moment.


Dordogne is not only a watercolor work in the painterly sense. The colors of the narration are slightly blurred and fluid – it is not possible to get to the end into the main characters’ motivations. Rough strokes of gameplay turn out to be conditional upon closer inspection – gameplay, as is often the case in such games, is optional and even annoying at times – don’t scrutinize the watercolor. But as soon as you take a small step back and maybe even lose sight, the picture seems to come to life. And now it’s not just Mimi and Nora that stand before my eyes. In the ears not only the crackling of the cicadas and the rushing of the Dordogne. Gradually they are chased away by the squeaking of swallows and the screams of children chasing a ball in a nearby square. Consciousness fills the smell of pancakes with cabbage. It is evening. You are in a suburban village. you are twelve grandma is alive. And the whole summer is ahead of us.


  • watercolor beauty;
  • touching charm of nostalgia;
  • The game allows you to get in touch with childhood – even as if it were your own.


  • the mostly optional gameplay is annoying in places;
  • The story is very short – and at times it seems hastily put together.


The game is very beautiful – without any buts. This is quite a full-fledged work of art, very modest in scope, but lovingly drawn “cartoon”.


The not too catchy and bright eighties rhythms of the duo Supernaive suit the event well. The characters are well voiced, but for some reason it wasn’t possible to turn on the French voice acting. And the English part of the charm remains, like inappropriate dubbing.

single player game

A small adventure – with optional collecting, attempts to engage in the game context through tactility and the ability to capture the details of this world (take photos, record sounds, form your own “results of the day”, which do not affect anything).

collective game

Not provided.

Estimated travel time

3-4 hours (depending on your love of “getting together”).

general impression

A little wrinkled towards the end and sometimes too ‘watercolor’ in everything, but very soulful and able to really get in touch with one’s childhood play.

Rating: 8.0/10

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About the author

Alan Foster

Alan Foster covers computers and games and all the news in the gaming industry.

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