Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

‘Moonscars’ sets the tone for the spooky season

Staff Writer Abbey Elizondo plays "Moonscars" on her Nintendo Switch, an experience she found challenging for many reasons
Staff Writer Abbey Elizondo plays "Moonscars" on her Nintendo Switch, an experience she found challenging for many reasons

“Moonscars” is one of the most unique game experiences I’ve had in a while.

When I first opened the game, I regretted deciding to purchase it (granted it may have been at 12 a.m.). The 2D graphics were so different from the pastel, clear graphics of casual games like “Animal Crossing” that I love. 

It reminded me of when I used to play old arcade games with my dad, the ones he loved from the 80s like “Galaga” and “Pac-Man.” The graphics aren’t quite 16-bit, yet they display enough detail to create a stunning game environment. 

You play as Grey Irma, one of eight champion warriors who were designed to fight. I’m not far enough in the game to fully grasp the plot, but it has me intrigued. 

The aesthetics of the game and the mysterious plot keep me intrigued. The gothic color scheme of blacks, grays and crimsons immerses me in the haunting feel of the game. 

The music score is also wonderful; it even fades out when important narrative scenes occur to ensure the player is paying attention. The font of the speech bubbles is difficult to read, causing me to stare at my screen longer than should be necessary — a minor flaw. 

But you know where it loses me? The times when I want to throw my controller through my TV? The fifty-plus times I’ve died while playing this game. The first few times made sense. I didn’t know the mechanics of the game, and I had never played a game with this learning system of dying repeatedly to understand the controls. 

I enjoy games that hold my hand through most of it. In reality, this game threw me against a brick wall and thought giving me a Band-Aid would make me feel better (it did not). 

And it’s so hard because I want to enjoy this game, I see the potential for me to be good at it. 

The thing that gets me is the lack of a difficulty setting. I expected this when I loaded up the game for the first time, but no, it sent me right into the beginning of the narrative.

For all the extensive video games I’ve played, they’ve all had difficulty levels. My favorite game, “Horizon: Zero Dawn,” even has a purely narrative setting where the battles are minimalistic, allowing the player to roam the open world freely. 

“Moonscars” allows the player to go where they please but with more consequences than I’ve ever experienced. You lose all your currency each time you die, and the only chance to get it back is to reach your gravesite — the place you died — before you die again. And the worst part is the save points in this game force you to fight a doppelganger of your former self, fully-equipped with your special weapon and skills. 

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

I’ve never played a game where it punishes the player for progressing in this way. From a narrative perspective, this detail is amazing. In actual gameplay, this would turn away many inexperienced players. I want to stick with it because of the spooky music and fascinating world the developer created for this game, but fair warning, this game will test even the most experienced gamer. 

Rating: 6.25/10