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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Square Enix
Developed By: Feel Plus
Genre: Action
Players: 4 Co-op
Rated: E10+ for Everyone 10+ (Fantasy Violence)
Release Date: May 4, 2011
Screenshots: Link
Price: 1200 Microsoft Points
Written By: Anthony Cara

July 19, 2011 - My childhood (at least before discovering my love of the RPG) was dominated by just one genre of late 80s, early 90s goodness: The Arcade-Style Beat’em Up. Somewhere between the 16 and 64 bit generations, the genre simply ceased to be. What could once be found everywhere now only appeared in the newer hack n’slash genre games like Dynasty Warriors or in other failed 3-D experimental brawlers like Hunter. It seemed like the age of moving from left to right and punching things was all but completely gone, but fans of this genre should take heart! With the rise of independently developed games, XBOX Live, and PSN download-exclusive titles, we can all punch and kick our way to glory once more!

Moondiver’s story isn’t anything as deep as revenge for a dead girlfriend or an overly muscular, shirtless mayor deciding to take back his city from thugs. No, Moondiver’s plot is just something as dull as the end of the world and a random anime-style apocalypse. The story is told in fragmented clips with mysterious dialogue between each stage. Pieced together it would seem that an evil force has set to bring about the end of all mankind (and it seems they’ve succeeded) but 4 colorful and powerful heroes aim to put a stop to the madness with the awesome and random powers they wield.

Moondiver plays a bit like the classic Rush’N Attack game where you have a 2D surface where you engage enemies on a series of platforms as you move constantly from left to right (and occasionally up or down as the level requires it). Along the way you mash the attack button while occasionally employing a small selection of special techniques. Beyond attempting to dodge a huge explosion once in a while, there is very little to be done in the way of strategy beyond simply mashing the basic attack. The special abilities you pickup along the way let you slightly augment your character, deliver a deadly projectile, or perform an area attack that obliterates everything on the screen. Levels are comprised of several small “episodes” as you move from zone to zone and then a final battle (either a boss or a special challenge battle) at the end. Once you finish a level you can choose to distribute any stat points you earned by leveling up. These can be used on HP, MP, or physical power.

The game’s graphics include super saturated, stylized 3D renderings of a flat game play environment that are at first visually stunning, but ultimately repetitive and boring. The music is a fast paced energetic techno/rock beat that, like the scenery, just sort of blurs into the background as you mash your way through a seemingly endless bevy of dull monstrosities. Finally the sound effects are much like you would expect of such a game – a slash here, some pew-pews there, and every so often an anti -climactic explosion.

Like many games of its type, the fun increases exponentially with each player added. When I attempted to solo the demo version, I grew weary of the game very quickly and felt no desire to try it again. When I obtained the full version and a couple of good friends to play with, we had a swell time smashing our way through the repetitive levels. Another thing the game does right is the inclusion of online and offline cooperative game play. It seems like more developers assume that no one wants to meet up in person to game together, and even when entirely plausible (Castlevania: Harmony of Despair or Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce– for example) a “couch co-op” is sadly neglected.

While not the best game in the world, together with titles like Scott Pilgrim VS the World and Final Fight Double Impact, Moondiver shows the potential of the brawling genre for the new generation of gamers. With downloadable characters, online leaderboards, and multiplayer goodness, this may be a title worth checking out. If you plan to try the demo, I suggest you grab a friend or three to make it worthwhile!


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