PAX Prime 2014 Impressions: Moonrise

Friday, August 29th, 2014

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PAX Prime 2014 | Moonrise

I like being pleasantly surprised, especially at PAX. Thus it is with great pleasure that I am here to discuss Moonrise, developed by Undead Labs–known for State of Decay–in conjunction with Kabam. I really didn’t know what to expect going into this demo, other than it was a game for iOS and Android devices. Turns out, Moonrise is a game that emulates (respectfully) some great aspects of other classics while paving its own path. A great way I can explain that is with this question: Why can’t you use the Trainer to attack in Pokemon? Moonrise’s answer to this question is simply “why not?”

PAX Prime 2014 | Moonrise

The basic premise of Moonrise is to raise and use creatures, known as Solari, to battle with other Wardens. This is basically the Moonrise equivalent of a Pokemon Trainer. However, the similarity pretty much ends there. Some Solari have been corrupted and turned into rampaging Lunari, and you must cleanse and then employ them in battle. Unlike Pokemon, Moonrise makes use of many character personalization options. Right out of the gate, you can decide exactly what your Warden looks like, choosing from skin tone, hair, clothes and more. Better yet, your Wardens join the battle with their Solari, using Relics to cast their own magical attacks.

PAX Prime 2014 | Moonrise

Another way Moonrise divests itself from the Pokemon series is the art style. I really enjoyed the vibrant Solari designs. Though you can’t tell from the still shots, they each have very distinct personalities, and express themselves in a variety of ways. Another difference is battles take place in real time. Using intuitive touch controls, you select attacks and, once they’re charged up, your beasts will battle! It sounds simple, but is deceptively so in execution. Battles are much more exciting and realistic than those in Pokemon, and what is especially cool is the various win conditions. When you battle a Warden, you can either take out his Solari or spend more time and effort and take him out. Either wins you the match, and both offer different pros and cons. I was also told that the final build will have many sidequests and PvP options, including a Draft mode where you battle with random creatures to win prizes.

PAX Prime 2014 | Moonrise

Use your magical keys to transform corrupted Lunari back into Solari!

I was very impressed with what Undead Labs and Kabam have cooked up with Moonrise. It echoes classic games but manages to do so with a unique style. Frankly, I think Moonrise is the answer for those who won’t play Pokemon because it is too simple. This is a game that is shaping up to be a huge quest, and when it launches in early 2015, it is supposed to be as long as a meaty RPG. This fall, it will be in beta for Android, iPad and iPhone, and may see other consoles. I personally wish I had any of those devices so I could enjoy this game for myself. For the rest of you, keep this game on your radar! It satisfies that creature fighting itch in a big way, and could be the next big touch game.


About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.