When Moon Diver (then named Necromachina, which, in my opinion is a way better sounding title) was announced at last year’s E3, everyone started to compare it to Strider for the Sega Genesis. With good reason too, because the game development team included Koichi Yotsui, the original designer for Strider. Now does being compared to a great game of the 16-bit days help or hurt Moon Diver?
FLY ME TO THE MOON
4-Player Drop In/Out Co-Op - What’s better than having one awesome looking ninja cutting down waves of enemies? Try having four awesome looking ninjas cutting down waves of enemies. Moon Diver supports both local and online multiplayer. The addition of a drop in/drop out feature doesn’t slow down gameplay at all and makes it easy for anyone, both local and online, to jump into a game in progress.
Old School Feel, New Gen Look - At the heart of Moon Diver is an old school side scrolling hack n’ slash platformer with a touch of the HD era.
Character Leveling - What’s interesting about Moon Diver is that it has a leveling system, like those found in most RPGs. Defeat waves of enemies to earn CP (command points) to level up HP, MP or POW, to make a stronger ninja.
Spells/Co-Op Spells - As you go through the levels, different spells are scattered around the game. Collecting them will endow the ninja with special magic skills from damaging all enemies on the screen to buffs like extra damage or increased defense. There are also coop spells that players can use. When one player activates the spell, a circle icon will hover over the other players signaling that they want to do a coop spell. Spells ranged from two to four players and are a great way for players to help each other out.
WHERE IT TOOK A DIVE
Analog Stick Used - It feels weird playing a 2D side scrolling type game with the analog stick. If the characters were able to move into and out of the fore-and background then this wouldn’t be a problem, but the game is on a 2D plane. Jumping on to platforms or away from enemies and trying to direct the character out of the way can lead to both over- and under-estimating jumps and dodges.
Irregular Difficulty Spikes - You would think that the first few sections would be fairly easy enough, but hard enough to be a challenge right? Well that’s not here in Moon Diver. The difficulty levels are all over the place. Mix in swarms of enemies in a few sections, and that’s a recipe for cheap deaths. The difficulty spikes up and down at different points of the games instead of being consistent throughout a stage and then rising in the next stage.
Repetitive - Now I know what you’re thinking “It’s a hack n’ slash game, it’s supposed to be repetitive.” And yes, while that may be true, what I mean by repetitive are the enemy types. With each level, comes new enemies that look the same as the past levels, but with a palette swap or a power change. Yes the setting is supposed to be in a post-apocalyptic world, but would it hurt the designers to come up with different enemies for each level instead of doing palette swaps of the same enemy?
I’m a little bit conflicted on what to give Moon Diver. On one hand, it’s a really fun hack n’ slash platformer: up to three other friends can drop in and play with you, it has character leveling, coop magic spells and has futuristic ninjas. On the other hand, repetitive enemy types, irregular difficulty spikes in levels and movement being controlled by the analog stick bring it down a bit. The $14.99 price will also scare away some of the more budget conscious gamers. After considering everything I’d would say demo it first, or better yet find a friend that already downloaded the game and play on their system first before you commit to the purchase. It’s a really good game to play with friends, but still needs a few things to be worked out.
- Mike V.
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