Renegade Kid has been very supportive of Nintendo’s platforms. After releasing the successful Mutant Mudds on the 3DS, they went and released the updated Mutant Mudds Deluxe on the Wii U. They also have Bomb Monkey and ATV Wild Ride on the 3DS. Renegade Kid’s newest eShop offering is an enhanced port of the DS game Moon. Moon Chronicles is a new offering that will be released in four chapters, with the first chapter being released now, and the others following soon. The chapters can be purchased separately, so if you only want to play one chapter, you do not need to buy the others.
Many people have been asking for Retro to make a new Metroid Prime, but after playing Moon Chronicles, I think that Renegade Kid would do a great job. Moon Chronicles is obviously inspired by Metroid Prime, but that is not a bad thing at all. If you have played Metroid Prime Hunters, you know how this game plays. You move with the circle pad, and aim using the stylus. You shoot with L, which is a little uncomfortable, but it is not too bad. I enjoyed the control scheme and felt it worked very well. However, I also really liked Kid Icarus: Uprising’s control scheme, which many others hated. If you do not like how this control scheme sounds, then there is another option: you can use the Circle Pad Pro. Unfortunately, I do not own one, but it seems that using the right circle pad to aim would work even better.
Moon Chronicles’ gameplay is very fun, if not a bit linear. I am not sure if this is the case in the future chapters, but there is no exploration in this game. You simply move from one end of a room to another. This is not a big problem, but do not go into this game expecting a Metroidvania experience. In Moon Chronicles, you play in a first person perspective and move throughout the underground alien laboratory and battle the robots you find inside. Some fly, and some stay on the ground. A few even crawl across the ceiling, giving some great variety in the enemies you encounter. Moon Chronicles is clearly aimed at veteran gamers; even at normal difficulty, this game is quite challenging. However, it strikes a good balance. I was always challenged, but the game never felt cheap. However, one annoying part of the game is that your gun shakes when you shoot. Combined with the erratic movement of the enemies, it sometimes feels as if the game is cheating.
Moon Chronicles offers a great amount of variety for the small amount of content you get. You unlock three items as you progress, and two health upgrades. Unfortunately, none of these are secret; the health upgrades are optional, but they are not hard to get. The weapons are required to pick up. Your default gun fires quickly and the reticle shakes a bit when you shoot. It is not very powerful, but you will use it the most. The second item you get is the RAD, which is a tiny remote controlled vehicle you drive around. There are many sections that you use this in, and it is unique because it has an ion beam that temporarily disables enemies and switches. In the sections that you use the RAD, you must maneuver a tricky section of enemies in order to disable a force field door so Major Kane can get through. These were my favorite parts, and were exciting due to how vulnerable you are. You must proceed quickly to prevent Major Kane from being attacked, and since you can not attack and your ion beam only holds eight charges, you need to be very careful.
Moon Chronicles also switches it up with a driving section at the end. You hop inside a moon buggy and travel across the surface of the moon to reach your destination. However, it is quite frustrating; there are many enemies and obstacles that are difficult to get past in your moon buggy, so I ended up going on foot. I took out all the enemies and turrets, then walked back and drove my moon buggy to the finish once the land was clear. The moon buggy has potential, and I hope future sections will be done better.
Moon Chronicles has been updating in the graphics department for its 3DS release, and although it looks quite nice, it just looks like a slightly more detailed DS game. The textures are a little grainy, and the models are not as detailed as they could be. Ocarina of Time 3D did a great job at having updated textures. I understand that a first party retail title can not be compared to an indie eShop game, but I feel that it is still worth mentioning. Fortunately, the 3D for this game is amazing when it works. Since most of the game takes place in a dark environment, I often experienced ghosting with the 3D. It gave me a huge headache and I left it off for most of the game. Also, when playing with the stylus, the 3DS tends to shake. If you have the stand from Kid Icarus: Uprising, I recommend you use it.
The story of Moon Chronicles is quite intriguing. I can not say too much without spoiling anything, but I can not wait to play the second chapter and learn more about the secrets of the moon. The story is told in two ways: through conversations between Major Kane and his advisers, and through computer terminals you find throughout the game. This gives two unique perspectives on the story. Major Kane is finding information out when he discovers new areas, but the information on the computers is written by the aliens themselves. The computers are worth finding if you are interested in the story of Moon Chronicles.
Altogether, Moon Chronicles is great. It controls well, the graphics are good, and it is all around a great game. However, there are a few quirks that prevent it from really shining. The first chapter of Moon Chronicles is great, but not amazing. I highly recommend it to anyone that is looking for a new, cheap game for their 3DS, but the short length of the first chapter and the lack of new content from the original version may be a deal breaker for some.