Game Quicky: Moon Raider (Switch) ~ Time For Revenge

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Drageus Games is back, and they provided me with another press key for a game with the request to give my 100% honest opinion on the game. The game I’m going to take a look at is going to release on April 23rd on Switch but if you want to play it right now, you can play it on Steam, iOS, Android. Apart from the game releasing on Switch, it’ll also release on the Xbox One and PS4. So, is this action, platformer / metroidvania-ish game worth your time, or should you skip this one? Let’s find out in this game quicky while I invite you to leave a comment in the comment section down below with your thoughts and opinions on the game and/or the content of this article.

Editorial note: please note that it's possible that this game gets updated when it gets released and that some things mentioned won't apply. 

Time for revenge

screenshot01In this game you play as Ava, the daughter of a scientist and the former queen of the moon, Selene. Now, our former queen needs special gems to stay alive, but they start to run out and Selene gets quite ill. So, it’s up to Ava to rescue her mother, and she does that by raiding the moon of all places. 

So far, I haven’t gotten too far into the story, but the setup for the story is simple and to the point. I was hanging out yesterday in a livestream of this game done by Star or Shovelware. The reason I bring this up is that I also used his stream as a research to write this article. Of course, I played the game myself but if you want to have an additional opinion, I would recommend watching that stream after reading this article. 

Anyways, the story. It doesn’t get in the way of the game at all. Which is both a negative and a positive. I felt like the story has potential but due to the lack of development of any kind, the story feels a bit useless. Oh well, I’m happy it’s here, and it’s not too generic and actually has a great motivation to play the game.

You would get the impression that this game is a sort of Metroidvania game since it has various elements of the genre but from what I have seen and played so far, this game isn’t that. This game is an action-adventure platformer game with elements of the Metroidvania genre. Surprisingly, it flows pretty well. 

The main goal of the game is getting from the start to the end of the zone. You can do these zones somewhat out of order, but overall this game is quite linear with some secrets hidden for explorers. The move set is quite basic, but it does the job. You have your standard double jump, attack, and you unlock some special abilities later in the game. 

Overall, the controls are extremely responsive. I got used to them extremely quickly, and I also got used to the quirky hitboxes of some things of the level geometry. But, I have a bit more to say about the controls, but I’m going to save that for later since this isn’t the correct section of the article for it. 

Something that surprised me is that by default, the sound and music is set to 50%. I have no idea why that is since the music and sound effects are amazing for this indie title. When you are playing this game, I highly recommend that you raise the volume of the sound effects and music since it enhances the experience quite a lot. The voice samples for the enemies are so well done. The music is decent, and it really adds to the moon raiding vibe. The minor nitpick I have is that this game doesn’t have sound effects for the UI. So, moving in the menu’s is completely silent, apart from the music.

Something you might have noticed by watching the screenshots of this game is that this game looks amazing. The environments are extremely detailed, nicely themed and quite colorful. I think it’s one of the strongest points of this game. The same counts for the animation as well. Together, the game runs at an amazing frame rate and is quite immersive. A minor complaint/praise I want to give about the visuals is that I felt that some traps like the prickly vines in one of the treasure room blends in a bit too well. This can be seen as a good and a bad thing. 

The revenge isn’t needed

screenshot04So, where does this game drop the ball? Well, first, let’s just say that the respawn mechanic is a bit broken. It’s also mentioned in the livestream by Star or Shovelware, but I also didn’t like the mechanic where when you die, you respawn at the start of the zone with the health you entered.

Health pots are quite rare, and I highly advise you to try and stock up before leaving the zone since otherwise you might regret it. For one of the bosses I had to go to the previous zones and get a health pot, go back to the boss zone, go back to the previous zone… Since, one health pot only heals one bit of health. 

There is nothing wrong with the quick respawing, so you can try again and try to avoid your mistake that got you killed, but the health thing really slows down gameplay. If the developer really wanted to balance the game, I think that at least half of your health should have been filled at respawning since nothing is more annoying than being in a long level where one mistake kills you.

A second mistake is the lack of a level select/map/completion screen. There are some animals to free in certain levels and special gems to aid Ava’s mother to pick up in the levels, but you have no idea in which levels they are and how many you have collected already. You have an overall counter on the top middle of your screen, but that’s about it. Thanks to the lords that already picked up gems and freed animals stay freed when you leave the zone, but not when you die.

Thirdly, there are some moments where I felt that some minor quality of life polish could have helped the game quite a bit. I had to learn the hard way that some smaller creatures are not set decoration but enemies. But the biggest thing I feel could be better in terms of quality of life in this game is a bit more sound effects when you use your gem energy. Especially when you are dashing, it would have been nice to have some sound effect when it’s almost depleted, so you could act accordingly and not try to go cross-eyed between the top monitoring your gem energy and the middle of the screen where you have to play the game. 

Another nice example is how the great save system works. The game saves every time you enter a zone. It doesn’t matter if you enter it via the exit or the entrance, your game saves, and you respawn with the amount of gem energy and health you had while entering. Now, this isn’t said anywhere. There isn’t even a save icon to indicate that.

The 4th thing that this game doesn’t do all that well has to do with the movement. Now, hear me out. You can jump up in the middle of a platform, but you don’t go down. In the middle of the lava zones, I opened a gate and jumped up to a higher ledge to avoid an enemy. But, I jumped on the higher ledge, and now I had to go all the way around to pick up the crystal since I couldn’t go down. 

In addition to that, I felt that using the dash was clunky sometimes. I didn’t always feel in control. Since I mostly control Ava by the left joystick and the dash works a LOT better by using the D-pad arrows. I also felt that the “Y” button is a strange button for that. You use “B” to jump and my fingers won’t go naturally to the “Y” button to dash but to one of the shoulder buttons. Maybe this might just be me, but I feel that if you had the ability to remap or use another control scheme, this would have been better.

Apart from that, I feel like the dash drains your gem energy way to fast. This drain made me grind for gems several times which is extremely slow mind you.

There is also no duck button. I can’t count the amount of times I tried to duck to either hit a small enemy or dodge a rocket and looked down instead… That was quite annoying.

The final thing I want to mention is that I find it quite surprising that this game isn’t translated. Usually, Drageus Games’ games are always translated into various other languages. But not this time, this game is only in English. Maybe that might change after the release.

So, yes or no?

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So, is this game worth your time? My answer to that question is YES. While the game has some rough spots which I mentioned in section above, I honestly think the positives outweigh the negatives here. 

If the developers improved the respawing mechanic, gave us a completion list, tweaked the dash controls and gem drain, polished up the controls a bit and maybe control remapping, this game would improve so much. But overall, this game plays amazingly for being a budget indie title. It’s only €10 here in Europe and I have played a lot worse games for that price. 

The hand drawn visuals, the amazing animation and the nice mix between an action adventure platformer and metroidvania makes this game somewhat addictive, and it wouldn’t surprise me that I’m going to finish this game on the train back and from work. It’s an amazing time waster, and I’m so glad that I was able to play it. 

So, if you enjoy action-adventure platformers, I would recommend that you check this game out. Like I said before, it has some rough edges but who knows, they might get polished up in a future update. Since, the potential of this game is amazing, and I would love to see this game get the spotlight it deserves and maybe a bit more content since reading from the press kit, I think this game might be a bit too short. 

And that wraps up my article about Moon Raider on the Nintendo Switch. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.

Score: 4/5

Creative Christmas #11 – I Promise That …

OrnamentsTrim_treetoppers99792-171002_1506972985225It’s the final day of the year. So, it’s time to make promises what we shall try to accomplish next year. If we do this collab with LaterLevels again next year, I might be able to come up with an overall theme, but for now, I’ll stick with the theme I have been using. A random introduction where I talked about not having a theme and getting distracted by the question asked. Oh, I shouldn’t have revealed this until the end of the series? So, tomorrow will be the final question in this collab? Oh. Well, let’s first answer today’s question.

Midnight rolls around and it’s time to pick a New Year gaming resolution to see you through the next 12 months. What’s your choice for 2018?

If I’m allowed to make promises with myself of what I want to accomplish in 2018 in terms of gaming, I think I’m going to repeat something I said in my “10 games I look forward to playing in 2018” list.

I want to play a lot of games in my backlog. I do have a long backlog of games that I still want to play and/or beat. Thankfully, a few of those games get a port or a remake of a system that I own, or about to own. If you want to know more about that, read my previous article.

skipper and skeetoWill this mean that I stop collecting for a year? Not at all! I’m actually going to try and find copies of games I’m missing in a series. For example, I recently bought Skipper And Skeeto 3, since I didn’t own that game yet.

If you don’t know Skipper & Skeeto, I wouldn’t blame you. Since it’s a Danish edutainment title made by Ivanoff. The Belgian company Transposia brought this series to Belgium and the Netherlands. I live in Belgium, by the way.

So, in 2018 I’m going to continue to try and complete my Transposia collection. I have around 36 games already, but that’s far from complete. Since they brought so many games here to Belgium and the Netherlands, I can’t count them all.

Besides that, I’m going to try and finish the index I was working on. The last index I made from my collection dates back to three years ago. And since then, my collection has grown quite a lot. Besides that, it’s just a simple word document listing all the titles I own. I want to create something bigger, a sort of Excel sheet I can use to quickly filter if I own the game already or not.

But, that’s a project for when I find the time for it. If I would finish that, it would take quite a long time to produce and develop. Since I want to be able to also draw numbers out of that file and that means I need to set it up quite well or otherwise it will have wrong numbers.

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Besides that, I’m planning to buy a Nintendo Switch in March 2018. While I’m a huge Nintendo fan, I wanted to wait a year to buy the Nintendo Switch.

The reason for that is, I wanted to see the system first build up a library of games I’m interested in before I went out and bought the system.

Now, I have a lot of titles I’m looking forward to being playing DooM and Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I’m actually tempted by buying The Legend Of Zelda – Breath of the Wild again for the Switch, to be able to take the game with me. But, on the other hand, I think my money would be the best spent elsewhere since the library of games for the Switch is large and other games deserve my attention.

You know, this is the curse of being a game blogger and (retro) game collector. I keep finding new games to play and enjoy, and I rarely finish them. Including some developer requests, I keep enjoying myself with those games quite a lot, but I don’t finish the games.

In conclusion, I want to create a database/index of my collection that I’m happy with. I’m also planning to buy a Switch in March of next year. Besides that, I’m planning to try and finish a lot of the games on my backlog that I still want to play or beat games that I haven’t finished yet.

So, I’m quite curious if I’ll be able to do all these things in 2018. Since I’m quite a busy fellow and I don’t always have the time to finish every game I started. Maybe I should try and do something about me being so curious to buy new games.

In any case, you will be able to continue to read my adventures through the land of video games by simply reading my blog and/or my twitter feed. So, thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

Preview: Neon Valley Revenge (PC) ~ Let’s Go Shooting in Tron?

neon valley revengeOfficial website

Recently, I came across a game on the world wide web called Neon Valley Revenge. This game is so interesting, I wish that there was already a demo I could play. So, let me tell you when I’m so interested in this game. I also got in contact with the developers and the CEO told me that a demo might come in the future. In any case, let’s take a look at Neon Valley Revenge. As usual, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section down below with your opinion on the content of the article and/or the game.

Let’s Go Shooting in Tron

neon valley revenge 1I chose the title of this article for a reason. This game is going to be a shooter set in a sort of Tron-ish looking world. It’s going to be an online shooter too.

From the currently released material on their website, I’m not sure if this game is going to have a single player campaign.

I think there is no need to talk about the visuals in depth since the screenshots in the article will do the trick I think. A picture can say more than a thousand words after all. But, if you want to see the game in action, you can look at this teaser trailer where the developers show off some combat mechanics. You can find more information about it in their article about the video.

Something that gets me interested in the game is the fact that the wall jumping. This opens up the map in so many different directions and I can’t wait to see how hectic matches can be online. Also, I like that there seems to be a 1st and 3rd person mode in the game. Personally, I like to play my shooters in 1st person, but if there is going to be an option, this will please both parties.

neon valley revenge 2Also, if the music from the video is going to be any indication of the soundtrack that this game will have in store, I’m getting even more hyped for the game. I think that the music really fits the presentation they are going to this game. There are some hidden hints placed in an article about the music that might possibly get into the game.

In another blog post, the developers confirmed the wall jumping amongst other forms of movement. Two other things that are pretty interesting is the air control and the dashing. It’s quite clear that this game is going for a futuristic vibe. I like the execution in this game since it really fits the theme visually. So, the artist did a great job in design everything.

Speaking about the artist, the main developer Jonathan D. and David Belli made the animations. Now, do you want to hear something even more impressive? Besides those two, there are three other people working on this game. The team is presented in this blog post.

So, the developers also revealed a bit how it’s going to work in the gameplay department. For this, I point you to a page talking about one of the maps. There will be commands to easily and quickly do things like vote and kicking players.

There are other various bits of information on that same page. You can find the control scheme and some information on how high scores and weapon load outs will work. Currently, the controls won’t be customizable, but the keyword is “currently”. I personally hope that the developer knows that “QWERTY” isn’t the only keyboard layout. I know, I know; it’s a pet peeve of mine, but I hate it when I play a game using my “AZERTY” keyboard and I have to place my fingers in a weird position to play the game.

So, I’m going to keep an eye on this game. When the demo is ready, I’ll surely give it a shot with my friends who are into shooters. From just seeing the already released (press) material, I can’t wait to see this game become a finished product. There is, even more, to discover on their website when it comes to art and screenshots.

Now I would like to thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading the article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care. And before I finish this article, I want to share the press kit for this game with you. So here it is! It’s written by the CEO of the developers Daydream Productions, Jonathan D.

Press kit

Daydream Productions presents

Neon Valley: Revenge is an online shooter with Neo 80s design influence. Full of retro neon-infused graphics and hardcore gameplay features, join the digital frontier of Neon Valley and claim your place at the top!

Features

  • Health shield system inspired by Halo: Combat Evolved
  • Agility focused movement for freedom of control. Wall jumping, dashing and air control
  • Assortment of weapons and gadgets with unconventional mechanics
  • Skill and style based points scoring system
  • Online multiplayer
  • Arcade style high score leaderboards
  • Neo 80s design and synthwave music

History

neon valley revenge 3I have been dabbling in game development since the tender age of 14. Mostly working with pixel art and some basic programming using the program Beyond. And after my education, I worked on several projects with friends or freelance based. However, after many of them fell through, I felt like I had to just go for it and push through whatever challenges lie ahead. To develop my own game, a project I could use to broaden my skillset and begin as a professional game developer. I aimed for a game design within my reach… Something which did not go so well.

Neon Valley is a project I have worked on the last 2-3 years. Mostly in my free time and a lot of the time which should have been my sleep. As I am originally an artist and designer I had to learn programming, so I could begin developing my own ideas. This project was for that purpose but as it developed I wanted to take the extra step. So I took it to the next level, revamped a lot of the art and turned it into a somewhat full-fledged game. Or at least direct my goals towards that. Neon Valley transformed from a small prototype shooter to an online multiplayer shooter.

I had to learn not only C# programming in Unity but also pick up how to program networking. And beyond that VFX, designing game mechanics, Lighting, bla bla bla oh my god. So it has been a rough couple years for this little artist, something very out of my comfort zone. It was not the straightforward copy paste of my 14yr old projects. But I love it none the less and am very excited to present my figurative but-also-kind-of-literal blood sweat and tears.

Goals

I wish to tailor-make a competitive online shooter that allows a diverse variety of gameplay styles. Currently, there is only a handful of items in the game. However, over the next few months, I will be designing more characters, weapons, and gadgets, testing them one by one with the players. Experimenting with the gameplay feel and a variety of gameplay mechanics at the player’s disposal. I hope to over time develop Neon Valley into a place where players can develop their own gameplay styles without feeling forced into specific “Meta” gameplay.