Still in a Dune mood? This new desert survival game has giant sandworms, too

Starsand desert survival game
(Image credit: Tunnel Vision Studio)

Still thinking about the Dune movie? Intrigued by thoughts of wandering desolate a world of sand, trying to survive in the harsh climates, and coming across the occasional giant sandworm?

Well, a Dune survival game is in the works over at Funcom, but you might be able to get your fix a bit sooner by checking out Starsand, an Early Access survival game that's set in a harsh desert environment and is home to giant sandworms. You don't have long to wait if you're interested: Starsand comes out on November 4.

In Starsand, you wind up stranded in a desert after being swallowed by a sandstorm while running a marathon. (Desert marathons, for when regular marathons just aren't enough of a challenge.) When the dust clears all you've got is a bottle of water and the knowledge that you can cobble together primitive tools by collecting rocks and sticks. I tried out the free demo and it's pretty tough—the sun beats down mercilessly which quickly starts damaging your character, and it looks for all the world like there's nothing around you but endless plains of sand and a mysterious pyramid in the distance.

But this isn't Egypt. When the sun sets you'll notice two moons in the sky, and neither look like the moon we know and love. Clearly that sandstorm whisked you off to some other planet, or dimension, or timeline, or... who knows what?

(Image credit: Tunnel Vision Studio)

This might not be Earth but there are familiar creatures in Starsand. After discovering an oasis with drinkable water and trees bearing fruit like dates and bananas, I killed a frog with my axe and roasted it over a fire. There were also some scorpions scuttling around, and when another sandstorm blew in and almost knocked over the tiny hut I'd been building, some frightened camels and gazelles appeared at my oasis. I fed one camel a banana. He is now my friend, and I'm glad, because just look at his sweet, goofy face.

(Image credit: Tunnel Vision Studio)

(Image credit: Tunnel Vision Studio)

I didn't see any sandworms in my time with the demo, but they're in there somewhere, along with other dangers like packs of hyenas, massive gators, and giant centipede-lookin' things. Of course, the biggest threat of all is the inhospitable desert itself. Starsand hits Early Access on November 4.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.