By Guy Rainey / May 26th, 2014
|Release Date||May 15, 2014|
|Genre||First Person Shooter|
Moon Chronicles is an episodic first-person shooter from Renegade Kid, exclusively on the 3DS eShop. This first season is a remake of the cult classic FPS on the DS, Moon (from the same developer). Does it fly or fail spectacularly?
You are Major Kane. You have been sent to the moon to investigate a newly-discovered underground facility not created by humans. Since Roswell (the infamous site of a supposed alien crash landing), humanity has learned that they are not alone in the universe. The information gleaned from Roswell has bolstered our own technology to new heights. Our technology is now so similar to that found on the moon that our devices can interface with the alien technology the Major finds there.
Renegade Kid have really outdone themselves on the presentation. The graphics aren’t the best we’ve seen on the 3DS (though it’s fair to mention that on the DS, they looked amazing), but the atmosphere is incredible. In Moon Chronicles, you really feel alone in an alien environment. The music is perfect for the setting. The whole game is about inspiring a sense of desolation, so the minimalist themes in the game fit perfectly. I don’t mean to say the graphics are bad; they just look like an early PS2 title, as opposed to a title on a system entering its mid-life. Adequate, but unimpressive.
The levels aren’t terribly impressive. Mostly there are corridors with only one correct way to go, with an alternate path here or there that leads to a collectible (collect all three, and you unlock a bonus mission). The normal enemies are a bit generic. They are mostly robots in geometric shapes, though the bosses are pretty interesting, if a bit on the easy side. The main boss of this episode took only a minute or two to beat on Rookie difficulty. And it was pretty easy; I just aimed at the glowing weak points. Like I said, interestingly designed, but pretty boring.
I will say that the robot, otherwise known as the R.A.D. or Remote Access Droid, in Major Kane’s control does change the game a lot. This robot can only stun enemies. Its job is to go into small areas where Kane cannot fit, and open up areas that are blocked off. It adds an element of exploration to the game that I enjoyed. Also, I have to say it: the Major doesn’t have a recharging health bar! I hate recharging health bars. Unless I’m playing as a character who is supposed to have a healing factor (i.e. Wolverine), it breaks my immersion that all I have to do is hide to get my health back. Plus, recharging health removes the need to explore a level looking for it, allowing developers to get away with making less expansive levels. Having a health bar gives me hope that the game might open up later on.
The controls are reasonable. Even though I own the enormous hunk of plastic that is the Circle Pad Pro XL, I wanted to see how the game controlled with the Circle Pad and Stylus combo. I’d heard that that setup was almost as accurate as a mouse and keyboard (which is the only way to play an FPS, in my opinion, though Wii Remote and Nunchuk works well, too). And, it wasn’t. I really didn’t like the trackball feel of the setup, and I quickly connected my Circle Pad Pro. Even then, the game seemed jerky to me. But this isn’t a game that requires a precise aim, so I’ll let it slide. I’m told that the game will get significantly harder as it progresses, so maybe this will become more of an issue down the line.
Honestly, the biggest thing holding Moon Chronicles back from my full recommendation is the price/length ratio. This first episode costs $8.99, and gives an hour or two of gameplay. And it ends really abruptly. It’s a pretty good start, but $2.99 would’ve been a better idea. If you are looking for a FPS to play on the 3DS, you might as well grab it since this is the first one, and, if you buy this one, you might get more. If you’re a Moon fan, you’ve probably already bought it. For everyone else, maybe wait for the whole series to come out for one price. It might be easier to swallow.
Review copy provided by the publisher
MoonMoon ChroniclesRenegade Kid