The majority of RPGs follow the troupes such as a hero murdering throngs of enemies to get stronger or trying to defeat the overbearing evil that is sweeping across the land. Moon attempts to create an RPG experience but without using these RPG stereotypes that have been around forever. Definitely a product of its time, there are moments of enjoyment if you have the tenacity to suffer through the slow pacing.
Instead of grinding for XP, Moom: Remix RPG Adventure, dubbed an anti-RPG, is all about trying to spread love by restoring the souls the hero of the land has killed. Completing quests by helping citizens of the world is how your character grows stronger but this mechanic is hidden behind a steep learning curve. Herein is the biggest problem – the game never tells you what to do, how to do it, and why you need to do it. When I first started playing, I was just walking around talking to everyone I encountered, as one does in any RPG, before my character passed out for no reason, causing a game over and sending me back to my save file from 15 minutes prior. This stamina system is never explained to the player making Moon an unplayable mess unless you read an online FAQs before you start playing. With gameplay this unconventional, not having an included instruction manual or hint system is baffling.
This obtuse gameplay will further test patience in combination with the snail’s pace of the playable character. Slowly walking across each screen just takes way too much time and even the text bubbles take time to appear. On the other hand, the game’s opening segment literally fills the screen with overlaid text but gives the player about three seconds to read it all – I read the first few words before it automatically jumped to the next text block. The journey also requires some repetition as the player needs to use trial and error to figure out where certain characters are going to be and when. Mess this up and it is back to that previous save from a long time ago, causing tons of wasted time.
Moon was originally an original Playstation game only released in Japan and the presentation shows. Cartoony sprites placed on top of pre-rendered backgrounds probably looked a lot better back in the day on a CRT but this Switch release features no increased resolution to enhanced visual features. Although it might not be the best looking game, at least players can appreciate the quirky characters and strange Claymation-style animation.
I am super happy a game like Moon has made its way onto the Switch eShop, translated officially for the first time for American gamers to enjoy. However, outside of the novelty of preservation and ease of access, Moon has limited playablity in the modern gaming landscape. The slow pace and bizarre non-tutorialized gameplay will easily test the tenacity of most players, leaving this experience for only die-hard RPG fans who can appreciate a lost niche title.
Also Try: Earthbound Beginnings (Wii U Virtual Console)
Don’t Forget About: Miitopia (3DS)
Wait For It: Tomodachi Life 2