To the moon.

In the future, man will return to the moon. He will build bases there, and colonies. He will claim it for his own. And, as sure as night follows day because that’s just how humanity rolls, pretty soon some other jerk will do exactly the same thing: and the next thing you know, it’s a fight. So goes the setup in Moon Rising, a game described as “in the mold of” classics like Advanced Wars and Laser Squad, but with a few interesting twists of its own.

Moon Rising is a turn-based sci-fi strategy game in which players square off against the computer or other humans in one of three different game modes – on the moon! Moon Rising sounds like a fairly stripped-down experience, with just three types of buildings – the beginning Headquarters that can build new units, Refineries that generate the income needed to pay for them, and Solar Stations that provide the power to move them – and six unit types: Astronaut, Rover, Supply Truck, Attacker, Mobile Launcher and Terraformer. From there, it’s a simple proposition: build up your forces, refine the Helium 3 resource, capture enemy facilities and seize control!

A full single-player campaign is on tap, but gamers who prefer more devious opponents will probably get a bigger bang out of the game’s many multiplayer options. Moon Rising is asynchronous and cross-platform, which means that Windows, Mac and Linux gamers will all be able to play together at their convenience and regardless of their platform of choice. First you take a turn, and then you take a break while you wait for your enemies to react and respond. Moon Rising will offer maps designed specifically for two, three and four players, and a persistent ranking system will track your performance against your fellow humans.

Moon Rising

Even though Moon Rising is now in beta testing, the two-man development team “Team Moon Rising” – very creative name, I’m sure you’ll agree – says it’s actually sporting “alpha graphics” at the moment, suggesting that improvements are to come. Even so, the 3D units and installations don’t look bad at all, especially for an indie strategy game; and if the plan is to upgrade them significantly before release, then Moon Rising could turn out to be an awfully pretty game. The developers warned that other aspects of the game are in flux as well, including the rules, but a free beta version is available to the public, so if you want to lay eyes on it in its current state, you’re more than welcome to do so.

Aside from being in beta, Moon Rising is also up for voting on Steam Greenlight, so if you like what you see in the test version, or even just in the preview video, you can throw it a thumbs-up right now. It’s currently, and I would imagine tentatively, scheduled to come out in the last quarter of 2013; you can find out more and follow its progress at moonrisingthegame.com.