Moonscars, tried the disturbing mix between soulslike and metroidvania

Moonscars, tried the disturbing mix between soulslike and metroidvania


It is a story of intersections, that of Moonscars: the two-dimensional action platform developed by Black Mermaid is placed on the narrative level halfway between Pinocchio and the golem of Jewish legends, putting us in command of a clay statue to which a mysterious sculptor gave his life and wakes up in a dark and violent world, anguished by doubts and by one of the many sensations he had never experienced: pain.

As for the structure and gameplay, the 'intersection is between the subgenre of metroidvania and that of soulslike: the game's scenarios develop in all directions and include barriers and mechanisms that we can only overcome after acquiring certain skills, while at each stop at a dark mirror all the defeated enemies they will come back to life, ready to face us once again.

Taking advantage of the demo made available during the Steam Next Fest, we tried Moonscars and here are our impressions.


Moonscars, the protagonist Gray Irma bent by pain As mentioned at the beginning, the story of Moonscars is a curious mix of elements: in the course of an introductory sequence and some textual dialogue we find the agonizing awareness of what has hitherto been an inanimate object and which finds itself alone, in a decidedly hostile world, gripped by doubts and fear. Will his creator, the mysterious Sculptor, be able to provide him with answers?

Is this the hope that Gray Irma clings desperately to, nevertheless discovering that he is not helpless in the face of the monstrous creatures that inhabit the game's scenarios: the his sword can tear apart enemies and his body is somehow capable of learning surprising abilities.

Even death is not a fixed point, but represents a potential - sometimes necessary - new beginning.


Moonscars, a combat sequence The Moonscars demo evidently projects us in the initial phases of the campaign, grappling with a very short tutorial on the combat system and, in general, on the actions available. The basics are those of a two-dimensional action platformer, so we can jump, attack and perform a quick shot that is useful both to reach distant platforms and to dodge the blows of the enemies.

In a few minutes our character comes into possession of a special attack: a disruptive shock wave that develops horizontally and allows not only to wipe out opponents, but also to destroy certain barriers to explore previously inaccessible areas, activate switches and open the usual passages, a typical element of soulslike.

Another aspect linked to this peculiar sub-genre is clearly the degree of difficulty, which however in the context of the short demo available on Steam does not beat too much. Creatures that are stronger and more resistant than the norm are simply introduced, which must be hit several times, perhaps even with a loaded blow, but whose attacks above all must be avoided to avoid taking too much damage.

A second bar, which fills up by eliminating enemies, it can be used by Gray Irma to recharge health but also determines the execution of certain maneuvers, such as the aforementioned special attack or a counter that projects the distant opponent, perhaps enough to "pin him" against a wall full of spikes.

We thought the impact feedback was excellent and there is certainly a lot of Symphony of the Night in the system developed by the Black Mermaid guys.


Moonscars, flying enemies attack the protagonist The soulslike soul of Moonscars manifests itself as mentioned in the degree of difficulty and level design, in the restoration of the enemies killed after a stop at a dark mirror (a sort of of an alternative dimension where you can eventually unlock new skills thanks to the resources gained up to that moment) and in the concept of game over, which sees us restart from the last checkpoint with a priority objective: to recover the remains of our previous life and with them the objects that we had collected.

The setting, with its platforms and its "elevators", levers and destructible walls, for the moment does not represent a new element compared to many other similar productions, but during the forty minutes of the demo we had the perception of a still hidden depth, which will inevitably manifest itself between boss fights and upgrades, the latter linked to a skill tree that seems rather full-bodied.

Technical realization

Moonscars undoubtedly boasts a certain atmosphere Stylistically Moonscars looks a lot like Blasphemous, although in terms of tonality it is immediately less colorful, q almost monochromatic: a choice that pays off from the point of view of the atmosphere but certainly not of the variety and characterization, both as regards the design of the scenarios and that of the enemies, all quite similar to each other.

The animations of the protagonist are equipped with several frames, so although they are hand-drawn they refer to live footage, which naturally benefits the fluidity of the movements. In general, the aesthetics of the game appear mature and guessed, although as mentioned the risk of monotonous graphics is around the corner.

Moonscars has an almost monochromatic graphic style As expected, the options are reduced to bone: Moonscars allows you to change the resolution and eventually activate the vertical sync, but there are no qualitative presets to set and the system requirements are rather low. The controller, however, is already perfectly supported, and there is no doubt that it is the best way to enjoy this experience.

Little to say about the sound, for the moment also with a great atmosphere, rather essential but effective in accompanying music and discreet in terms of effects. There are some spoken dialogues, but the bulk of the exchanges are purely textual.

Moonscars is undoubtedly a promising title, which mixes soulslike mechanics and metroidvania in a way that is perhaps not too original but certainly competent, projecting us to ' interior of a setting that seems to have something to say. Solid in the fighting and with many facets yet to be revealed, the action platform by Black Mermaid wraps you in its atmosphere right from the start, and the short demo definitely leaves the desire to return to play the role of Gray Irma to help him find the answers. who is looking for.


Solid and competent A lot of atmosphere Mechanics without doubt tested DOUBTS Not very original in the assumptions Visually stylish but monothematic We have still seen too little Have you noticed errors?

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