Friday, June 28, 2013

Full Review: Moon (DS)

I finally finished Renegade Kids' Moon a couple of weeks ago, shortly after I finished my initial review of the game and I wanted to have some time between that post and this.  Because this is all very important information and why y'all're here.  Now down to brass tacks.

I found the graphics to be very good, considering that the game came out on the DS back in 2009.  Obviously one should not be expecting 2009 PC quality graphics such as F.E.A.R. 2 or Borderlands.  Keeping the platform in mind, Moon looks damn fine.  Throughout the game, I did not notice any break in the graphics and there was no fog obscuring enemies in the far off distance.  Moon also apparently touts a 60 fps frame rate, so if you're at all concerned that your eyes aren't being used to their fullest potential, you'll have no concerns here.

Moon plays like an FPS should on the DS and I feel it plays even better with the joystick.  About halfway through the game I realized I was using the joystick as opposed to the directional pad, tried using the d-pad and quickly went back to the joystick.  Moving with the joystick and looking around with the stylus on the touch screen was a very natural feeling.  Firing with L button was a very natural choice.  Switching between weapons (or choosing to use the Remote Access Droid) pauses the game, but only while the stylus is still touching the screen.  If Moon had come out on the 3DS, the d-pad could have been used to cycle through your weapons, but since that's a moot point, there's no point in making an issue about it.

One thing that I had issues with (issue as in my ability as opposed to a problem with the game) was aiming at enemies at a distance.  Even with non-automatic weapons such as the Huon Pistol, aiming at a moving target can be frustrating.  I would also like to note that in the couple of missions that require you to drive the resident moon-mobile, I'm not a great driver.  "Looking" is directed by moving the turret mounted on the tankified-moon-mobile while the d-pad/joystick control the direction of the vehicle.  I often felt like Caboose trying to drive Sheila.

Again, Wikipedia notes that Moon is criticized for it's lack of multiplayer, but I personally don't feel that not having a multiplayer function hurts the game, this is of course comes from someone who doesn't play many multiplayer games.

The story in Moon is of the kind that reveals itself over the course of the game.  Early on, I got the feeling that I (the character) is some sort of astronaut-army-jarhead with the security clearance of a janitor.  You know you're on the moon and that there are other soldiers/astronauts in your platoon, but that's about it.  Oh, and initially why you're on the moon.  But, then shit starts to hit the fan at an incredible rate.

Backstory/history in the game is found out through various computer terminals throughout the game and for most of the game I wondered why each computer screen only had a couple sentences of information and nothing else.  This question was answered very late in the game, but not so late that I called bullshit on the whole thing.

At the end of the game, the story does give way to a potential sequel, which would be great to see on the 3DS and there have been whisperings about Renegade Kid working on another FPS for the 3DS.

In short and without giving anything (else) away, I really enjoyed the story.  It worked for the game that it came from.  Would it work in a book?  Maybe.  Would it work in a movie?  Probably not without some retooling from Renegade Kid as opposed to a Hollywood exec. who knows more about science fiction than the people who created the game.  Sarcasm.

The music, composed by Gareth Vilday is very fitting for the game.  Some stages the music consists of ambient background sounds/noises and other stages has pulsing bass notes that work their way into a melody of sorts.  Often times the music sounds like it's being pumped through a headset in an astronauts helmet (as if I really know what that sounds like) and while the quality itself isn't all that great, it still works.  I was never once distracted by the melodies or the quality of the music.  It fits the game very well.

Final Thoughts
I had a lot of fun playing Moon.  Conklederp will also tell you that I swore a lot while playing Moon.  Both statements are true.  Most of the swearing occurred while facing the Guardian II & III or which I did have to pseudo-cheat and look up information on youtube and gamefaqs.  After I don't know how many gos at the respective Guardian, I didn't know what I was doing wrong.  Turns out I just needed to used different weapons at different times, so basically stuff that I never did during the regular stages.  I used the same tactic when going up against the final boss.  Only after watching a couple of videos on youtube, I actually managed to get the boss stuck behind a pillar and in a way that it couldn't hit me with it's cannon
Life Pro-Tip: Don't Taunt The Game's End Boss.
The boss was nice enough to give me time to get my phone (without pausing as I was afraid that if I paused it would "unlock" him/her/it) and take three pictures (this is the clearest).  Shortly after this picture though, the boss finally moved and managed to take about half my life before I was able to kill it.  You can't see it in this picture, but his life was a very (very) tiny flashing red sliver of pixel while my life is at full.

All-in-all, I put in 12 hours 46 minutes into the game, which I feel is a solid amount of time for an FPS, especially one on a portable device.In closing, if you're looking for a good solid FPS for the DS/3DS, pick up Moon at your local Gamestop or on eBay or Amazon.

Show Me The Way To The Next Whiskey Bar

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