Screenshot
Screenshot
Screenshot

Bang, Zoom. Straight to the Moon! (Moon Chronicles, Ep. 1)

“Join Major Kane on a mysterious mission to Earth’s moon to investigate a unique hatch of unknown origins. With each new episode you are brought one step closer to understanding the secrets that lie beneath the surface of the moon.” – Moon Chronicles Web Site.

If you had a DS, you likely know that there was always a shortage of FPS on the system until Renegade Kid stepped up to the plate with Dementium and the original Moon title (as well as Nintendo’s Metroid Prime Hunters). The original Moon title pushed the DS to its limits, pinching every polygon it could into the game, but overall suffering from lack of advertising and not many know of its power.

Fast forward 5 years, and Moon is back on the eShop. Remastered with new control schemes and better graphics, Moon Chronicles takes the original Moon game and turns it into an episodic title. With 4 chapters in the first episode ($8.99), there’s easily value to be had, especially if you like replaying your games.

The graphics and sounds are very similar to the original Moon, featuring sci-fi inspired tracks, blast sound effects, and satisfying explosions when an enemy is defeated. The graphics have a gritty ‘Metroid’ feel to them, and while they sometimes feel uninspired, the enemy design slowly evolves as you get further into the first episode. The cutscenes could have better quality, feeling like they are straight out of the original Moon, but they still get the point across with a sort of MC_Screen_05 ‘B-Movie’ charm. The game often has you facing against similar looking enemies, which I guess could distract you from getting too into the story, but the bosses are unique and never a true pain to defeat. Moon Chronicles does run at 60FPS at all times, even when the 3D effect is on. One issue I do have with the graphics and art style is that you can quickly get lost if you’re using the stylus to control your aim, as many rooms look very similar to each other.

The elephant in the room is obviously the controls. First Person games on the 3DS (and the DS before it) are few and far between, for obvious reasons. The game offers four different control schemes, plus Circle Pad Pro support. At the time of writing this review, my 3DS XL is out for repairs, so I’m currently unable to test the CPP controls, but will edit the review accordingly once I’m able to. The control scheme which I personally enjoyed the most was using the stylus to aim, similar to how Metroid Prime Hunters controlled. While holding the 3DS awkwardly can result in some minor cramping in your hands, it overall gives the best experience. I had issues with the other controls where I was either moving or turning too slow. A “sensitivity” slider would really help, I think.

Overall, the game suffers in a few small areas, but is a fun adventure in an interesting location. The story is mysterious enough to make you want more, and the hidden upgrades provide something for those that love to collect. I’d love to see multiplayer action later down the line, as a multiplayer FPS on the 3DS would be very nice, and Moon sets itself up to become a very popular franchise if the controls can be ironed out. The episodic format makes for a bit of a short game right now (I clocked in on normal mode with just over an hour), but when the other episodes are available, they’ll surely add more content as they are added. Fans of first person shooters may feel the game is too simplistic, but fans of quirky, deep mysteries wiMC_Screen_02ll love Moon Chronicles. No matter if you’re playing as Kane shooting in traditional first-person, or riding LOLA, the moon buggy (which is controlled in 3rd person, and is very smooth!), or you’re using your Remote Access Droid and solving the mazes to unlock doors, Moon delivers a lot for the price.

Moon Chronicles is out on the Nintendo 3DS eShop on May 15, 2014, and is $8.99 for the first chapter. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 will be $1.99 as they release. We were provided an early copy for review from Renegade Kid.

Pros:
  • Interesting story makes for a world you want to explore.
  • Using LOLA feels very natural, and adds something different to the FPS field-day.
  • The different control options are nice to have, especially Circle Pad Pro support.
Cons:
  • Simplistic visuals don't help the immersion.
  • Cutscenes could be rendered a bit better, feel very grain-y.
  • Controls are still rough, but this is more due to console restraints.
Graphics Pixl Score 4 4
Story Pixl Score 4 4
Sound Pixl Score 4 4
Controls Pixl Score 5 5
Fun Factor Pixl Score 4 4