Overall Score 45%
Moonfall: Land of Dreams
Hellish looking vines, floating in a sea of bubbles; jumping on mushrooms and bludgeoning nightmares to death; welcome to Moonfall: Land of Dreams. You play the one who has the ability to control dreams, escaping the corruption of Malus, a demon wishing to turn Moonfall and its dreams into a world of darkness.
There are eleven chapters, and it is your quest to find the four parts of the Sunstone and reach the portal at the end of each level. Guided by a pixie you will learn how to control your character while jumping over barriers and deadly pits, collecting stars and keys.
At moments the Indie spirit shines through, and you can't help but notice that the creators have taken an blunt looking 3d engine and made the best of it. After diving into this adventure, you might want to move in 4 directions, but will quickly realise that this is a side scroller / platformer. The game plays like a platformer and though the assigned jump and attack keys may be counter intuitive for some, the game has configurable controls with Joypad support. The game does include a comprehensive text manual, making Moonfall a smooth experience for the informed.
There are a myriad of control options, and you can configure the keys you want to assign to actions like fly, run, jump and attack. Moonfall could have done with swapping the run and walk options, as the characters movement can look unrealistic and airy. Flying could have been implemented better as there is a blurry line between it and a running jump. If you die that section of the level will restart, and if you lose all your lives get ready to replay the entire stage. Though this can be fun, the old school appeal will soon dissolve around chapter 2.
On the upside, by entering a sequence of symbols you can load any desired stage, bringing back memories of Another World. Considering the look and feel of the game, the music occasionally hits home to the tune of Alone in the Dark 1, and even for just that moment, a glimmer of nostalgia connected me with the Land of Dreams. Uneventful sounds suit the 3d engine, while the music keeps the audio experience afloat. The tracks can get a little boring, but well chosen music adds balance to the audio experience.
Jumping down wells, Mario style, and sliding on ice are just a few of the creative touches that makes this title worth a look. The game occasionally suffers from depth perception issues, in that it's hard to discern the position of some platforms, resulting in many leaps of faith. Doors allowing you to travel to other parts of a stage enhance the game. The platform puzzles are creative and interesting while jumping on mushrooms and attacking flying eyeballs sounds a lot more fun that it actually is. Features like zooming in and out don't do much for the game, but the use of the camera to adjust the viewing angle makes transitions interesting and smooth, adding to the experience. You can't really call the game innovative, but it does include interesting stuff like springs on clouds and stages that go around 360 degrees, closing on themselves.
The game could have done with a little more polishing, by giving more life to its characters, improving battles, controls, and providing more goodies to collect. With solid work behind this title, you can't help but feel that the 3d engine was holding the developers back from creating a more superior experience. My journey to Moonfall inspired me with nostalgia, revealing a deep story, and with creativity supporting the game, I look forward to future titles from the developers of Moonfall: Land of Dreams.
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