Company:  Crescent Moon Games

Mines of Mars Review

Mar 19, 2014

Mines of Mars is a genre-bending journey to the Red Planet that starts off like a cross between Minecraft and Metroid, but slowly morphs into something far more intriguing. It could stand a little more polish, but even with the occasional bump in the road, it's the kind of thing I can see myself playing for a long, long time to come.

Mines of Mars describes itself as a "procedural atmospheric mining game" inspired by games like Metroid and Motherload. It actually gives off a rather dark sci-fi adventure vibe at first, as the cinematic opening follows a grizzled miner forced to take work on Mars for reasons unknown. But things take a turn for the lighter following a rough landing on the planet, as he – that is, you – makes contact with the oddball commander of the Mars mining installation and a peppy robot who's eager to please.

Mines of Mars

It's an unexpected and rather sharp turn in direction, although it has very little impact on the gameplay, which very quickly struck me as a sort of 2D Minecraft – although in hindsight a comparison with Rust might be just as apt. You take a portal from the base to the mines below the surface, excavate dirt, minerals and gems, bring them up top, use the resources to craft better equipment and weapons, then head back down to do it all again. 

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Coldfire Keep Review

Feb 20, 2014

The town of Newsettle needs your help! There's evil around every corner (careful not to step in any) and it's up to you and your stalwart band of newbie adventurers to delve into the depths of Coldfire Keep, uncover the source of the trouble, and put an end to it once and for all!

A brief history lesson before we get going: The "dungeon crawler" is a type of first-person RPG, solo or party-based, with a focus on exploration, puzzle solving, collecting loot, and copious amounts of combat with a host of inhuman ne'er-do-wells. They were particularly popular in the 80s and early 90s, but by the mid-90s the genre had fallen out of mainstream gamer consciousness. In recent years, however, it's enjoyed something of a resurgence, driven largely by the 2012 indie hit Legend of Grimrock. (I delivered the same sermon in the lead-in to that review too, by the way. I like to keep readers informed.)

Now along comes Coldfire Keep, and if you've ever wished that you could go digitally spelunking on your bus ride to work, I have good news: There are some rough edges, but in most of the ways that matter, this is a game that gets it right.

Coldfire Keep follows four inexperienced adventurers as they investigate strange happenings in the ancient castle that lies just outside of town. In fine dungeon crawler fashion, that's the extent of the setup: Some monsters busted up the place and you're going to look into it because nobody else will. The tale gets a little deeper as you progress through the catacombs but it's perfunctory stuff, and the truth is that, much like climbing a mountain, you're diving deeper into the dungeon for no better reason than because it's there.

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Shadow Blade Review

Jan 16, 2014

The movement of a ninja needs to be tight, swift, and precise with each delivery. There's no use in sticking to the shadows and sneaking up on your enemies if they're going to be able to disarm you and discard you without a second thought. That's why any ninja-based game on a mobile touchscreen device is a gamble – it's tricky enough as it is to make a platforming game feel right on a touchscreen, so to recreate the feel of stalking your prey as a ninja is really rather difficult.

Remarkably, new ninja-based platformer Shadow Blade manages it with grace. While the controls feel a little unorthodox to begin with, they quickly prove ambitious and well considered, with flicks and gestures becoming your window into a world of great set-pieces, wall-jumping, blood-spewing, and rushes to the finish.

You play as a ninja student who is attempting to return to his master with important information. Unfortunately there are numerous obstacles and enemies standing between points A and B, and he's going to need to hack and slash his way through the lot of them. Of course, that can only be good news for us – I mean, we need some baddies to make this fun, right?

Shadow Blade wants you to feel slick. To this end, the game comes with a control scheme that's a little bit different – you can opt for the regular d-pad style controls, but you'll want to go with the gesture and swiping control set, because it feels really damn good once you properly get into it.

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Clash of Puppets Review

Dec 6, 2013

Charlie loves B-movies, and who can blame him? There's a level of camp and cheese that catapults poorly made cinema into the world of endearingly awful. So when our good ol' Charlie happens upon a drive-in boasting a classic B-movie marathon, he pulls in right away to partake in the terrible goodness. But all that flick-watchin' is serious business, and Charlie soon succumbs to sleep, whereupon he is whisked away into the very films he loves in the role of the hero. Armed with a trusty baseball bat, proximity traps, and any number of firearms, Charlie must make it through the benchmarks of less-than-mainstream film, lest he be Nightmare on Elm Street-ed (killed in his sleep) by the very cinematic villains and monsters he has come to love. Tragic.

There's a cartoony style to Clash of Puppets that blends with a mostly linear take on classic 3D platformers. Putting elements like mechanics and gameplay aside for the moment, it's important to note that this is a good-looking game, especially for its light-hearted, kid-friendly style. No, it isn't the most beautifully developed experience in the history of mobile gaming, but there are enough subtle touches, clever lighting, and immersive additions (why is fog so spooky, anyway?) that you'll probably take note.  Charlie is pretty damned cute, and as far as heroes go, he's likable.

Clash of Puppets

Really, he falls under the strong and silent type that developers seem to like so much, but there is a lot to be said for the star of the show being an everyman. Even if it isn't a major plot point and even if we are talking about a game where cute puppets beat up other cute puppets, there's something about an ordinary person thrust into extraordinary circumstances and rising to a challenge. On some level, no matter how small, we tend to see ourselves like this – to view the world of the character through our own eyes. Or maybe I'm just reading waaaay too much into it and it's little more than a silly distraction. Either way, the means to think this way is apparently something that can happen.

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Ravensword: Shadowlands is fighting its way onto Steam tomorrow

Dec 5, 2013

PC

If you’re a big RPG fan and own a smartphone or tablet, then there’s probably a pretty good chance that you’re more than familiar with the epic Ravensword: Shadowlands from Crescent Moon Games. But every mobile RPG-goer needs a break from gaming on the go to take a seat at their computer, right? Well now you’ll get to have the best of both worlds, as Ravensword: Shadowlands is coming to Steam tomorrow, December 6, and players will be able to download it at a nice 10% discount off the regular $14.99 listing price.

Now in case you never took the time to adventure through the rich fantasy world of Ravensword and partake in all of its high-caliber RPG gameplay, these are just a few of the many features that you’ll be able to find in this monster of a game: a vast 3D open world  that’s just begging to be explored; vicious creatures to battle including giant dinosaurs; the seamless switching between first- and third-person camera perspectives; and of course, all of the lockpicking, pick pocketing, and item looting you could ever hope to find!

So basically, Ravensword: Shadowlands is pretty awesome. And now that the game is coming to Steam tomorrow? Why that just makes it double awesome. In celebration of this exciting news, Crescent Moon Games has also just released a brand new game trailer, which you can view in all of its glory right above this paragraph there.

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Space Chicks Review

Nov 20, 2013

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: Space Chicks is the next Jetpack Joyride. It’s the next ‘endless play, buy new upgrades, can’t put it down’ addiction that fits snuggly in your pocket. You’re going to play it, love it, and curse this review for ever letting you know about it in the first place. It’s a game that accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do – make you want to keep playing round after round.

Space Chicks is an endless runner with a gravity-based twist. Like Canabalt, Jetpack Joyride, and the like, your little astronaut will run automatically, with jumps performed by a simple tap anywhere on the screen. What makes Space Chicks unique, though, is where your hero jumps to.

Space Chicks

In a move that seems to draw inspiration from physics-based games like Angry Birds Space, your astronaut will jump from planetoid to planetoid with each jump’s trajectory affected by the pull of gravity. The object of the game is to successfully time your jumps to get from one planet to the next in a quest to rescue the titular chicks in space. 

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Save some stellar babes: Space Chicks coming this Thursday

Nov 19, 2013

Want to know a secret? Space Chicks is going to be your next mobile obsession. We’ve had a chance to go hands-on with the next release to be published Crescent Moon Games, and – much like our first experience with Jetpack Joyride, Temple Run, and Canabalt – we’re finding it impossible to put down.

Space Chicks mixes the gravity-based gameplay of past releases like Angry Birds Space and Rabbids Big Bang with the endless running, jumping, and avoiding of your favorite 2D survivalists. We’ll have a full review coming when it launches later this week, but in the meantime, we thought a tease might be in order.

Crescent Moon seems to agree. That’s probably why they just released this trailer;

Get ready to rescue some Space Chicks of your own when the game launches this Thursday, November 21.

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Strike Wing: Raptor Rising Review

Oct 31, 2013

Strike Wing: Raptor Rising is the odd case of a pretty good game which just doesn’t quite have all it needs to sink its hooks into you. It does have quite a bit going for it, as you are greeted with a choice of control style, ranging between touchscreen joystick and gyroscopic tilt steering; and what’s more surprising than it should be in this business, the touchscreen controls are actually quite good. Accompanying the slick controls, which also include buttons for firing, boosting, and slowing down, are some very nice graphics and suitable (if not particularly catchy) music and sound effects for your space dogfight.

And a dogfight is just what it is, as you engage the enemy in a full 360-degree field of battle, shooting at the enemy fighters with the help of your wingmen. There is also the boast of adaptable enemy AI, changing as you play, but it can be a bit difficult to notice, at least earlier on. Fortunately, locking on to enemies is pretty simple, as you don’t need a precise lock on your targets to score hits: just getting them inside the wider targeting reticule is often enough to engage a small degree of auto-targeting from your guns, alleviating what could have been a rather frustrating experience.

Strike Wing: Raptor Rising

The game is broken up into missions, and this is where things begin to falter. Each mission contains a different scenario or end objective, but there isn’t really anything to tie them together. It’s essentially a high-score game, and while that’s not bad—we’re certainly not ones to say games must have a story—something about it just feels kind of lacking without one. 

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Mimpi Review

Oct 18, 2013

Mimpi is a gorgeous and whimsical platform-adventure with touchscreen controls about a little white dog who discovers one morning that his master has gone missing. So like any good dog, he decides to venture out past his peaceful home and scour the dangerous lands of the earth to find out just where his master went off to.

The story and presentation are some of the biggest strengths here in Mimpi, as everything gets told completely without dialogue, and actually gives you a deeper sense of engagement in both the characters and the narrative than most text-heavy games do these days. The graphics are wonderfully bright, with an almost paper-like quality to them at times, and Mimpi’s animations are especially fluid and adorable as he hops and platforms along hills, logs, sleepy fish heads, and everything else you can think of in between!

But the big twist here is that a lot of objects in the game environment can actually be moved and manipulated by the touch of your finger: something you’ll be needing to do a lot of if you want to traverse most of the game’s trickier platforming sections and puzzle scenes (not to mention the odd and rather out-of-place hidden object scenes you’ll be asked to complete at the end of each larger level).

The visuals and world design are the true shining stars here in Mimpi, as everything feels like one enormous and interconnected sidescrolling stage, that takes you through all sorts of different environments from hillsides and forests, to beaches and underwater caves (Mimpi gets to ride around in a giant air bubble during these sections). It’s true that you’ll never see the same location twice in the game, and the optional bone collectables provide an extra splash of challenge, which unlock cute comic strip stories in the gallery; in addition to the rarer light bulb collectables, which give you an extra hint when you need some help on how to proceed.

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Nakama Review

Oct 3, 2013

Whether you're into the "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" fighting approach, or you're perhaps more of a "crouching tiger, hidden dragon," it's safe to say that when it comes to being a ninja, your fighting style needs to be swift, controlled, and tight. You're not going to be around for very long if you can't dodge a simple shuriken to the face.

Mobile ninja-em-up Nakama fails miserably to provide the sort of control that is required of a Shinobi warrior, while also piling on a rather confused difficulty curve, and action that is more a rambling bar fight than a well-implemented meeting of blades. There's style here for sure, but the gameplay itself needs a massive overhaul before it will approach anything that can be deemed entertaining.

Nakama

You are the last Shinobi of your village, and nasty enemy ninjas are looking to make sure you don't survive much longer. As you run to the right, each level consists of a couple of screens of generic ninjas to take out, before a slightly more tricky boss battle.

Nakama's controls should be relatively simple. You're provided with A and B buttons – A slices, while B jumps. Hold A and you'll get a mega slice, while double-tapping B makes you rush through the air. You can also use a combination of A and B to slice through the air too. Sounds great so far – but in practice, it leaves a lot to be desired.

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