Friday, April 18, 2014

PAX East 2014: Moon Chronicles

Spring has arrived, and with that, another PAX East has sprung up, inviting gamers and game developers from all over the world to Boston, all to show upcoming games and revel in what the industry has in store.  We at Third Rate Minion were there, and we got to try out a sampling of what was there on the showfloor!



Renegade Kid had a number of Nintendo 3DS titles playable at their PAX East 2014 booth. One game I got a chance to try out was Moon Chronicles, which is a remake of their 2009 Nintendo DS title Moon.  Now in an episodic downloadable adventure, Moon Chronicles is expected to expand on the universe Moon established, and from what I played of the demo, it should be a solid debut to the FPS genre on the 3DS.

The first thing I noticed was how improved the visuals were when compared to the Nintendo DS title. The game’s textures were redone in high-resolution, and characters and environments were remodeled with more details. What impressed me the most was that the game managed to have all of those improved visuals and still run at a solid 60 frames per second, even when the 3D was turned on. Speaking of 3D, RK managed to produce some serious depth in Moon Chronicles. Few 3DS titles create the depth this title had, and it made me disappointed that more developers are not making games with such depth or even making more first person preservative games on the system for that matter. My one disappointment was the game’s cut scenes were not redone as heavily, as they looked to be compressed video from the DS title. Despite that the world of Moon Chronicles was definitely pleasing to look into.

 I somehow doubt those drones are friendly...

The game has multiple control setups, but the one I used was similar to Metroid Prime Hunters - the circle pad moves character around while the touch screen aims. I did have a slight issue with the game’s turning speed being a touch too slow but this might be customizable in the final release. There appears to be no jumping in the title, which may limit how you traverse though the game. Instead, Renegade Kid gave us a little robot that can race through small openings and explore narrow places, similar to Samus Aran’s morphball. Using this robot to navigate tunnels, paralyze enemies, and open force fields offers some diversity to just walking down hallways shooting at monsters. Of course, being this early in the game, there is likely even more unique ways to traverse through the world, too.  

One unique thing I noticed was that the gun reticule actually recoiled when I was firing away at the enemy. It added a more realistic feel to the game, though it did make aiming and shooting a bit tricky. Luckily, moving and strafing was quick and easy to maneuver to avoid enemy fire.  Furthermore, the Super Assault Rifle is not the only weapon we get in the game, either, so how the weapons react when firing them is likely to change as new ones are found later in the adventure.

I never had the chance to try Moon on the Nintendo DS, but it looks like we all lucked out, as this title is an impressive upgrade with impressive visuals you would not get on the original platform. My only concerns are with the compressed cut scenes and lack of jumping, but if everything else is well tuned, I won’t have a problem with them. Seeing into the world of Moon Chronicles with the 3D display on was very immersive, and I will certainly enjoy playing this game's with 3D on when its first episode comes out in May.

For more on Moon Chronicles, check out the site here.
Be sure to check out our interview with Jools Watsham here!

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