The only other real “element” to Moon Diver’s gameplay is the collection and utilization of special moves known as Moonsault Combinations (MC). Players can collect and unlock roughly 60 different MC’s throughout the game which are triggered by pressing the circle button. The effects had by these moves vary and include the ability to launch various projectiles, restore health, and even cause temporary impairment of your enemies. Up to 4 MC’s can be assigned to a character at a given time, each of which is mapped to a different direction on the d-pad. Sometimes, these moves can mean the difference between life and death when you are facing an onslaught of mechanized enemies but players must be wary of their MP gauge as it is drained with each MC use.
As “next gen” as the game looks on its surface, the gameplay is as old school as it comes. Moon Diver plays and feels just like a classic arcade / action game. Aside from the MC’s players will be relying solely on their ability to run, jump, and slash away at their enemies. There aren’t any fancy gameplay elements tied in to complicate things aside from the ability to hang from the walls and ceilings; you simply wreak havoc on as many enemies you can at any given time. As simple as it is it is also incredibly fun. The action spans across 12 different stages, each with their own branching paths which offers variation for subsequent plays. Unfortunately, all of the stages look and feel somewhat similar. The same familiarity that is evident in the stages is also felt in the enemy variety, or lack thereof, featured in the game. While you do run across quite a few large and nasty bosses, most of the regular enemies that you will be facing during the course of your gameplay will be the same from start to finish.
This is really unfortunate given the polish and intricate character design featured in Moon Diver. I absolutely love the visual presentation of the 3D models on the 2D plane, and do not understand how the development team came to the decision to limit the variety of the fantastic art presentation throughout the game. There is a nice variety present in the various animated cut scenes and menus, but it just isn’t found throughout the whole experience. Fortunately, most players will be tearing through the endless waves of enemies at such a rapid pace that they will hopefully not be distracted by the repetitive nature of both the enemies and the environments. The true focus of the game is its action and in that area it more than succeeds.
Although the game will become visually repetitive over time, thankfully the gameplay will not as a result of the great cooperative modes offered. Moon Diver supports up to 4 player cooperative gameplay both online and off. The transition between the two is practically seamless as you can be joined by both friends nearby and random online players at any given time, assuming you launch the game with that option activated. The online play is as smooth as it is fast paced and really performs well. When playing with more than one player, you can use special, enhanced MC’s in order to make your team effort all that more effective. Players can also interact with one another through online leaderboards which track player performance(s) on each stage.
Despite its flashy visual presentation, Moon Diver is a throwback to the simpler action games of the past. This is something I would have expected to find in the arcades back in the early to mid-90’s. While I personally enjoy the game, I can see it having difficulty becoming popular considering the current trends in gaming. The game is honestly as simple as it gets; you run, jump, hack, and slash… and maybe utilize the occasional special ability, but that is it. You are either going to love this game or hate it; I seriously doubt that there will be a middle ground. As for me, I loved it and keep going back for more.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Moon Diver takes all the charm of a retro-action arcade game and presents it with a shiny, new-generation look. At the core though, this game is about as old school as they come. As much as I love it, I am afraid that this is one solely for fans of the genre.
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