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

    Ashdown Group: SQL DBA - Croydon - up to £65,000

    £58000 - £65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SQL DBA - Bromley, South East London...

    Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager - Retail / FMCG / WMS Operations

    £55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager ...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is require...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Professional Services Firm - Oxford

    £21000 - £24000 per annum + 21 days holidays: Ashdown Group: Technical Support...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor