The-Mooseman-Review The Mooseman Review

   27/07/2018 at 14:11       Chris OToole       0 COMMENTS. - Score 3/5
 - Puzzle, Platformer , Russian, Legend

 

Review by Alex Vaughan.

 

The Mooseman is a lesson in Finnish folklore; a world of stories and mystical figures I didn’t know existed before playing, but started reading up on my own as soon as the game ended. Opening my eyes to a new mythology and inspiring me to learn more, is something worthy of praise – it's a rare find when gaming enriches the real world and The Mooseman is worthy of plaudits for that alone. Which is a good thing, as the gameplay itself can be somewhat lacking, yet as a wrapper for education, delight and surprise, it does very well indeed.                                                     

As a forest dweller, your character being what I can best describe as a Druid, embarks on a quest to the Land of the Dead in a Playdead inspired, ‘keep moving to the right’ Limbo-vania. The twist being you can switch between the ghostly world of the mythology and the real world with the press of a button, navigating through the environment where in one path you can be blocked by a large tree which is mysteriously removed when switching to ethereal vision and becomes a ghostly visage allowing passage. The visuals shine in this mode; the world scrawled over with a stylised and shimmering cave painting effect, depicting odd creatures, gods and all manner of beasts hindering or helping you on your journey down to the depths of the world. 

As you progress you discover totems which ‘sing’ lore at you (yes, you read the right), read through simple text unlocking in the menu. Nothing is force fed, you are free to simply keep walking and pay no attention but I found delight in growing my understanding of this world and its beliefs, framing your journey throughout and gives the place life and meaning. The music breathes depth into the world as you move through it, giving rise to seriously beautiful scenes in this mysterious place you find yourself in.

All of this is great, because the gameplay itself is sadly lacking in a number of areas. Early puzzles are fine, involving simple switching between worlds to move rocks or allowing a log to crawl (becoming a snake with your ghost vision) to cover what was impassable ground. Later levels however become frustrations in trial and error, with insta deaths abound as you try to work through the specific path the developer wishes you to work through. Between chapters you are offered a spoken overview, voiced in Russian with English text on the screen (depending on your chosen language) however a couple of scenes seemed to forget I was playing in English and reverted to Russian leaving me at a loss for the next section. Menus are clunky and annoying which is a shame as that is where you are expected to read and keep on top of the lore as you wander through the world. 

The delight of The Mooseman comes in discovering the unknown and being surprised, so I will keep light on detail but to say it’s worth a look if you have any interest in lesser known mythologies and want to learn something interesting. As a presentation piece and a way to keep players engaged, it works, but only just. A worthy addition to the Indie Switch library, but I do fear it will be lost in the crowd for those looking for something a bit more fast paced, and that would be a shame.

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Better late than never, eh Ror?
 
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Enjoyed this, cheers!
 
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i agree chris, the Aliens table makes the others look bad.. because its so goood!! but they arent that bad.. haha! ...
 
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