Dreams Like Paper Airplanes and The Surrealism Of Oases

Oases feels like flying in a dream.

Maneuvering my plane through surrealistic biomes it was as if I had suddenly been lifted away from my body, and had it replaced with something so much lighter and more peaceful. Swooping through enormous mushrooms, disembodied hands, and abstract monuments which defy understanding and yet populate the landscape all the same, I felt momentarily freed from the challenges of life and allowed to drift freely into a world as wondrous as it was soft and unchallenging.

Oases is in many ways a sensory experience before a game. It invites you to glide within its dreamlike reality as the rumbling bass and twinkling electronica transport you to another place, one of pulsating pastel skyboxes and avant-garde morphology. There are no goals except to lose yourself in Oases vision, if only for a moment before you are transported back out again to the reality of a crashing plane hanging in perpetuity above an endless desert.

Oases seems to wish to confront the tragic and inexplicable with a delicate and inviting strangeness. Each flight ends with a short memorial to the developer’s grandfather who was lost aboard a plane during wartime, and for which this game seems to act as both remembrance and closer. I don’t feel as if that makes it sad however, as it only introduces the feeling that Oases is an attempt to create a space removed from the sadness and tragedy of reality. Not to hold up and hide within, but to escape to when the idea of processing whatever you’re going through is too much.

It’s a delightful and enthralling capsule of creativity and nontraditional game design, so simple in its structure and yet so fantastically expressive and powerful, and for just a moment I was allowed to put my stress out of mind and simply float along the wind as my senses went wild.

"Quick Thoughts" is a place for micro criticism, abstract musings, and shameless showcasing for games which either don't fit into a full review or I am not yet ready to talk about to that extent, essentially acting as a concise running commentary on whatever I'm currently playing and my thoughts thereof.
Oases was developed by Armel Gibson and Dziff and is available for free on PC and Mac via itch.io.

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