Game Design, Game Reviews

Moon Away is a great game, but too easy to complete

moon_iconToday I’ll be reviewing Moon Away, a small atmospheric mobile game built by Moonville Entertainment for the Android and iOS operating systems. It reminds me heavily of Twister, the game that’s used to mend the wounds created by Monopoly and Don’t Get Angry board games.

Available on Google PlayAvailable on iTunesAs most games, this one has its good and bad sides. As a big plus, I’d single out the game’s mechanics which are innovative and well-built. As a minus, I’d say the game lacks a serious challenge, as it seems to be too easy to complete. Let’s get down to it:

The Setup

Moon Away tells the story of the moon, having left the orbit and now drifting away from earth, the developer says. Now it is up to you to bring it back! The first thing you’ll notice when you run Moon Away is the soothing music, which creates an atmosphere worthy of a game set in outer space. The second thing you’ll notice is the graphics, which also encompasses the spacey look quite nicely. Hand drawn, with cool glowing effects and shimmering of the stars, it is a well-designed game.

The home screen offers three features: the leaderboard, achievements, and the start of a new game.

Pressing Start Game will move the screen to Level 1, where you will see that each level gets rewarded with one to three stars, depending on how well you do.

The goal sounds simple: Hold the moon with one finger, collect the stars with another. The moon drifts around the screen, meaning you have to follow it with one finger while waiting for the stars to appear so you can tap them with another finger.

This is why the game reminds me of Twister, as sometimes your hands will end up entwined as you try to reach for certain stars. In my opinion, this is also the game’s best feature, as it’s unique and well-built.

Lacking Challenge

However, what this game makes up in quality mechanics, it lacks in a serious challenge. The moon drifts quite slowly, and even if you lift the finger from the screen or fail to follow the Moon properly, you still have a second or so to fix your error before the game stops.

ss1There are comets flying around that seldom hit the Moon and have it change course abruptly, but still not strong enough to have you fail a level.

With no effort whatsoever, I have managed to successfully complete, and get three stars, for the first 20 levels. The game features a total of 50 levels, which means I have completed almost half the game with close to zero effort.

I do like, however, what the developers did in terms of in-game currency. Each light you collect can be traded for various power-ups, including increasing the size of the Moon, pulling all lights towards the Moon, and slowing the Moon down, to name a few.

However, with the game being this easy to complete, I have had no need to purchase a single power-up, and only did it to see how it works.

In conclusion, I’d say the game is beautiful, but too easy. The mechanics are innovative and well-implemented, the graphics are cool and the music is perfect. The game runs smoothly and the power-ups are a great add-on. Having an in-game currency with power-ups is always a good way to keep players interested, especially if those power-ups don’t require real cash.

However, the game is simply too easy to complete, which is why I feel it seriously lacks entertainment value. Make it a bit more challenging to play and it will be just perfect.

Bonus Trivia

Moon Away is a figure of speech, which is used to describe someone wasting time pining or grieving. “Don’t moon the whole year away! You have mooned away half the year. Now pull yourself together!”

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