Moo Lander (Demo)
This game was reviewed on Xbox Series X.
Reviewed by: Joe Cabrera
Moo Lander! An udderly ridiculous name for an udderly ridiculous game. This charming half 2D puzzle shooter, half Metroidvania is a delight on the eye. It's vibrant, it's colourful and its hard to imagine anyone loading this game up and being unimpressed with the game's visuals. You wouldn't be blamed for thinking Moo Lander would be an easy-going experience akin to something like Rayman Legends. However, you would be wrong. Moo Lander is just as challenging as it is a delight to look at.
Currently, without a specific release date, Moo Lander is set for release on all platforms in Spring of 2022 and has been developed by The Sixth Hammer.
Since this review is only for the Moo lander demo, I can only give you my thoughts on the first chapter of the game. The game starts with you, an alien of unknown origin, crash landing on an unknown planet. It becomes apparent that the planet you have arrived from powers itself using milk. Your mission is to capture and transport a large alien cow home to power your planet with its endless milk supply. Honestly, the story is up there as one of the stranger video game concepts I've encountered. Luckily though, the gameplay doesn't hang too heavily on the story. It's more there just to add in some comedic value and a sprinkle of light hearted-ness to an otherwise tumultuous and challenging experience. That being said the narrative will draw you in as you unfurl the banter between yourself and your ship's AI.
The chosen medium for Moo Lander is airborne traversal. You will avoid environmental dangers, and take on enemies all from the confines of your flying saucer. As is the case with other Metroidvanias, you will progress through the game by unlocking various skills and abilities that will aid you in your journey and allow you to interact with environmental objects and areas that were inaccessible before. It's an age-old set-up, and when done correctly make for some of the best gaming experiences around. But have Moo Lander done it right? Well... it may be too soon to tell. With only one chapter of the game currently playable, it's hard to get a true perspective on how this game is going to shape out. But from what I did play. It's okay.
So as I mentioned before you will avoid environmental dangers. Now when I say 'environmental dangers' I mean almost the whole environment is a danger. Touching spikey vines will cause you damage and for the start of the game, these things are everywhere. At a time when you are still learning to master the controls and the movement mechanics, this can be quite frustrating. Also, these movement mechanics take a fair bit of getting used to. The acceleration speed is a nightmare, especially for the tight areas you are expected to traverse. The movement speed feels a little too fast and imprecise. However, after 10 or 15 minutes of gameplay, you get used to it and the game begins to click.
The puzzles weren't anything to write home about. They are quite easy and uninspired but that much is to be expected really considering this is the first chapter of the game. I am interested to see if and how they decide to step up the puzzles later in the game.
To say the demo is only around 30 minutes in length there is a surprising amount of varied gameplay with a number of different weapons you can collect and a number of different enemies to take on. All weapons are powered by milk. Like the milk shield and the milk sword. Why?! The highlight of the demo is the boss cow Bertha who first shield the barrier out to prevent you from dropping your milk bombs. For a first boss, Bertha is surprisingly tricky. Nothing that will take you too long but tricky nonetheless.
All in all Moo Lander is a fun half-hour so far but leaves more questions than it does answers regarding how good this game will be. The movement feels a little funky to me and could do with making it more precise to reflect the amount of precision expected from you in gameplay. It didn't cause me too much trouble in this, the game's first chapter, but I imagine as the game ramps up in the chapters to come it could become increasingly frustrating. The game's world and dialogue are the stands out points for me so far. The game is very delightful to look at and comes with some surprisingly hilarious dialogue to boot. What we got to taste was fine but it was definitely the skimmed experience. I will certainly be excited to see what the full-fat version has in store for us. Moo Lander will be available on Steam, Xbox, Playstation and Switch sometime in spring 2022.
Reviewed by: Joe Cabrera