Games Review: Moon

Nintendo DS, £29.99

It's hard to escape reading about the Moon just lately; our only satellite, contributor to the Earth's tidal systems which helped shape our civilisation and object of human fascination from time immemorial. Of course the latest stories regarding the Moon have been written to celebrate the 40th anniversary of NASA's first 'giant leap' on to the lunar surface; it is here where similarities with 'Moon' for Nintendo DS can be drawn. You see, in the non-too-distant future humanity has set foot on the Moon once more, but unlike the last time, we are not alone.

The year is 2058 and aboard Lunar Outpost Alpha; a military outpost built on the Moon's surface, all is far from tranquil. The discovery of a metallic hatch of unknown origins has thrown everything we thought we knew about our satellite into a state of disarray. 'Who built it?' 'What's inside?' and 'Is it still occupied?' Are the questions on everybody's lips and as Major Edward Kane, Chief of Military Operations for the Extra-Terrestrial Encounter Organisation (ETEO), it's up to you to find out. Unfortunately for the Major and his associates, discovering the answers proves more difficult than they planned and the astronauts of ETEO are soon fighting for their lives as they begin to unravel the secrets of the hatch.

Expect plenty of twists from the well driven plot told via a combination of well rendered movies and one-on-one dialogues with scientists based both on the Moon and back on Earth. Of course, without sufficient gameplay, action and well implemented controls, even the best storyline in the world wouldn't be enough to entice DS owners to part with their hard-earned cash. Luckily, developers Renegade Kid, have managed to address those necessities successfully too, with their most impressive feat being the creation of a successful control mechanism that makes playing a first-person shooter (FPS) on the DS feel like second nature. Controls make use of just three inputs: the control pad moves your character back, forth and side-to-side; moving the stylus on the touch screen allows you to look around and the left should button fires whichever weapon you happen to have equipped. I found myself always in control and - other than the occasional twinge of cramp from clutching the DS too hard - enjoyed guiding Major Kane around the Moon's interior immensely. The clarity of the graphics also helps proceedings enormously, with wall textures and objects well defined and easy on the eye. Enemies too are distinct from background scenery, so you never feel that an enemy has simply appeared from nowhere due to the muddying of polygons.

Action comes in the guise of gun battles with a variety of hovering sentry bots, walking sentry bots and wall mounted sentry bots. While that's a lot of sentry bots, to be fair to the developers, there is a decent amount of variation in the design of enemies who also get tougher to despatch as the game progresses. To counter the ever increasing strength of the sentry bots are a selection of guns, some man-made, but most alien in origin. While not the most lethal sounding guns in the history of FPS games, they largely look the part and deal out sufficient damage to get the job done. Once the shooting is over most rooms will present you with some puzzles to solve in order to progress. Often this consists or guiding a remote control buggy through small nooks and crannies that the Major (decked out as he is in a rather fetching red spacesuit) is too cumbersome to fit through. By using the buggy's onboard pulse cannon, electronic devices can be disabled and force-fields downed to allow the Major to proceed deeper into the alien installation. While this formula is repeated often, I found that the need to complete my current objectives and get to that next boss-enemy (yep you guessed it: giant sentry bots) was enough to keep me plodding onwards; the game also rewards exploration by unlocking additional levels upon discovery of alien artefacts scattered throughout the levels. To break up the 'walk, shoot, remove force-field, progress' formula even more, the developers also included vehicles within the game. Major Kane has access to a lunar buggy, which again is well implemented and very responsive within the control system; if you have even handled a vehicle in Halo you will be right at home here.

'Moon' then is a well crafted, good looking game and an excellent addition to anyone's DS game library. Perhaps the largest praise I could heap on it would be to say I personally prefer the title over 'Metroid Prime: Hunters'. Also for the DS, Hunters is one of the consoles more hyped and well received forays into FPS territory. For me, the simplified controls and engaging storyline of Renegade Kid's title trump Hunters and surely that is recommendation enough. Just remember, when walking on the moon, 'giant steps are what you'll take'.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Ashdown Group: C# Developer

    £30000 - £36000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: C# Developer A highly s...

    Day In a Page

    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...