It’s tempting not to stick a score on this review, seeing as moon is quite unlike anything we’ve ever played. That is its greatest strength, but also what will see it shunned by many.
Nominally an RPG, it sees you play a young boy sucked into his favourite Japanese role player – with a cliched giant dragon and full kitted out hero in shining armour all present and correct.
Except you’re not the hero, but merely trailing in his wake. You see him vanquish foes, chasing after wild dogs, and a lot more besides.
Your main objective throughout the game is to retrieve the souls of the creatures the ‘hero’ kills though, therefore spreading love throughout the land.
No, it doesn’t make much sense. But it’s all compelling in a completely unhinged way. This is a title that’s fully aware of its absurdity. There are so many nods and jabs to RPG conventions, and there’s also a lot of genuinely amusing dialogue throughout the relatively short adventure.
The way the game mocks RPG tropes still feels fresh today – no mean feat considering this was originally released on the Playstation twenty three years ago.
moon is strange then, but it’s at least consistently strange – from the garbled speech of the NPCs and the dated yet still distinctive visuals, which use sprites over pre-rendered backgrounds.
Sadly with all its quirkiness comes some almost unforgivable flaws. One is that this is a game that never holds your hand.
The fact that the developer has encouraged people to read an online version of the manual before playing the game says it all.
This is only a major issue at the start where you’re getting your bearings however. You have a stamina meter that is constantly depleting, and once it’s empty you’re dead.
You have to replenish it by finding a bed to sleep in, yet this is never clearly explained – even the bird you meet in the opening village who gives out helpful advice doesn’t spell it out well enough for our liking.
Such obtuse moments will put off most players then, and the slow pace only exacerbates things. The dialogue is delivered slowly, and your character moves around at a snail’s pace.
Ultimately moon too often hides its often blinding originality behind unclear design and an unnecessarily slow pace. For those with patience this is a game worth investigating – but for most this is a cult classic probably best avoided.