“M-O-O-N spells Moon”, from Stephan King’s “The Stand”. I chuckled when I saw the title of this game. Then I was intrigued as I viewed the associated website. Once I loaded it on my DS I was taken back to the days of maneuvering the corridors of Phobos. Clearly the developers of this first person shooter Doom clone thought of a prequel to the chaos that erupted on the Martian moon of Phobos. Of course we colonized our own satellite first, historically this would have happened. The premise is, in the future, mankind finds a mysterious alien hatch on the moon, a base is built, and suddenly your comrades mysteriously disappear. You are ready and armed, so you are ordered down the hatch. The movement, graphics, and sound are quite reminiscent of the early Doom series, of which I am a serious fan. But Moon has sharp improvements and presents unique challenges that are in a class to themselves.
Moon is developed by Renegade Kid and published by Mastiff, rated Teen for drug reference and violence. I admit to doing a double-take that it was not developed by id Software. I really enjoyed the interface and how they incorporated the game play on the DS platform; Utilizing the stylus for full 360 degree views at anytime while tracking your movement on a map as well as using the L or R button as your weapon trigger. Movement is accomplished from the D-pad if configured for a right-handed person, but also accommodates left-handed players to use the right buttons as a directional pad to use the left hand with the stylus. It is really action packed and the challenges keep you hooked for long periods of game play.
The graphics developed on this game take full advantage of the DS capabilities at sixty frames per second. I felt the interface is incredibly responsive and sharp. Though it is as good as expected on the DS platform, you will find smooth details and nice rich moving scenes. The sound is a bit cheesy and menacing, but keeps your blood pumping as you clear rooms of alien cybernetics crawling about. The initial weapons, I admit felt and sounded a bit weak, and left me wanting something more beefy to fire, but as I upgraded they improve slightly. There are no .50 cal machine guns or BFG’s to mow down the aliens. So you will need to get used to the pea shooters in your arsenal and they seem to get the job done.
Another added feature, there was even a story line that is not entirely terrible, which I was impressed with being a Doomesque first person shooter. Also I appreciated the fact that I did not spend a lot of time reading screens, which can be very annoying when all you want to do is frag. You will interface with various supporting characters from your communications uplink on your suit when you find clues or keys in the game unlocking new areas and equipment. You save games at way points through different levels, and acquire some very unique toys amongst your arsenal. The first of which is a remote search droid. It is about the size of a shoe box and when in use, it is as if you astrally project into the droid, operate it for a moment then shift back into your main body. A hint, leave your body where it will be safe while operating the search droid. Then you upgrade to various alien weapons and even a moon buggy.
Moon is just a single person game. The only modes afforded are that of “adventure” and “quick play”. In “adventure”, you continue your normal trek through the game, and as you complete an episode it is stored and available in the “quick play” section. In “quick play”, you can replay portions, or episodes, and improve skills or try a harder skill level. The three offered being rookie, normal, and veteran. So if you are looking for any multi-player features or co-op type interaction with Moon, you will find it as non-existent as plant life on its surface. But given the scope and depth of the interface of this game, I felt it perfect for a solo player game.
You’ll find no cheese, or pizza pies in the eye, on this Moon. I thoroughly enjoyed this first person shooter. Got some time to kill on a commute and need to vent on some mindless fragging? This is the game for you. Put your Sims game aside and let the Nintendo Dog feed itself and grab a piece of the Moon. Great graphics and use of the interface, despite the weaker sound development; the game play makes up for it. They also have one of the better developed websites promoting the game that I have seen. I give this waxing Moon a solid 8.5 out of 10.
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