Monday, October 22, 2012

March to the Moon

This looks like a trip worth taking.

                March to the Moon is an XBL Indie game released on August 31st 2012 by Califer Games. It’s a top down shooter with some RPG elements. There are twelve different classes from which you can pick from, and when you level up enough you can pick a secondary class, or choose to stay with the one you already picked. How does this game stand up to others in the SHMUP genre?

                I’ll start with the two things I didn’t like about the game. Number one is the graphics. I can appreciate simple, retro styled graphics, but that’s not what this game has. It looks like most of the graphics were created in MSPaint and imported into the game. Normally I don’t like to hark on a game for graphics, but sometimes I had difficulty reading the on screen text. And the graphics are just downright silly otherwise. I would like to point out that on their website for the game, the art is awesome. I wonder why that wasn’t put into the game?

Ah rats. I'm going to burn a lot of you to death.

                Also, the music. Oh god, the music. It has one song that plays on a loop throughout the entire game, and while it starts out inoffensive… I eventually found it stuck in my head, and not in a good way. I still hum it to myself sometimes without even realizing it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I got sick of the one song in the game. But I did a few power sessions where I just played the game straight for several hours at a time… maybe that was my fault. But a few more songs for variety would’ve alleviated this.

                Now onto what I loved. I love RPGs, so when I started this game up and was presented with twelve classes to pick from, I got excited. I created characters with combinations of all the classes so I could find out what they were all like. I eventually went with a fire/arrow character, because it turned out to be easy mode. You gain three skill points as you level up, and at level 8 you pick your second class. Then you distribute your stat points between many different types of skills.

Which was a machine that produced rats. Like a pile of rags.

                The game has three different levels of difficulty that unlock as you beat the game. It gets progressively harder on the high difficulties, and dependant on how you built your character, the game can either be really easy or really tough. Using my fire/arrow character as an example, I put all of my points into the skills that made my main fireball/arrow attacks stronger. I could shoot multiple projectiles of each type. By the end of the last difficulty I was shooting nine fireballs and nine arrows, which took out everything on the screen, most of the time.

                You can also customize your character with different options that you unlock throughout the game. You can change your character’s look at any time. This has no intrinsic effect on your characters stats.


                If you can get past the graphics, and just use your own music, this game is awesome. I really hope they make a second one, or at least someone makes something similar to this. It left me wanting more, and I would gladly pay to get more. Even if they didn’t change the graphics and produced a “second campaign” with more classes and character options, I would still get it. If you’re a fan of indie games and SHMUPS, for only 80 MS Points, this is a great deal.

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