Less is more. For those of you that are in any doubt as to whether or not such a principle can succeed in an industry that is mired in explosion-heavy, bombast-riddled, content-packed games, journey through 6180 The Moon’s simple, beautiful narrative and all will become clear. A game rich in nuance, yet wrapped in subtlety, 6180 The Moon is a thoughtful, mesmerising platformer like no other.
6180 The Moon: Xbox One [Reviewed], PC
Developer: Turtle Cream
Publisher: Turtle Cream
Release Date: 11 December 2015
Price: £3:19 [Disclosure: Game copy supplied by Developer/Publisher]
The game’s story is as innocent and playful as a children’s story. You are the Moon, and you cannot see the Sun. Puzzled by this, the Moon sets out to find the Sun, visiting other planets along its journey. The clean presentation of the game is arresting, with minimal prompts and menus. The starry expanse of space is merely blackness, flecked with tiny orbs of light. Dependant on the planet Moon is visiting at the time, the screen will wear a tint of colour – while visiting Earth, for instance, the screen is tinted green. With five planets in the game, there are a total of 50 levels to play through, with each set providing a new challenge thanks to every subtle yet sublime addition the game implements along the way.
The core mechanic of the game sees the player guiding Moon through each level. Since Moon cannot die, the player is invited to go beyond the screen bounds of each level in order to spawn on the opposite end of the level. By pressing A Moon can jump, and if Moon jumps out of the top-most screen limit, he will appear at the bottom-most limit and continue his trajectory until he falls back down. Being able to interact with levels this way is novel and allows for unique traversal of each stage, creating several methods of reaching the goal.
Although more conventional platforming aspects appear – such as spiked walls and moving platforms – the core mechanic of traversing levels from the top and bottom of the screen is essential to the gameplay and revitalises platforming by making it a multidimensional exercise, as opposed to a chore that usually consists of jumping from left to right until you get to the end. Asking precision, patience and creativity of the player, 6180 the moon is a joy to interact with, replete with a humble learning curve that encourages experimentation thanks to the absence of lives or continues. You are free to leap and play and bound around in your space, and you can take your time with the game’s more demanding levels.
There are no timers or leaderboards either: you are free, in every sense of the word, to enjoy this game.
Enhancing the enjoyment ten-fold is the game’s sumptuous soundtrack. A haunting mix of melancholic melodies, 6180 The Moon’s score is solemn, captivating and perfectly complements the game’s presentation and aesthetics, which tend to be stark and dark, yet contrasted with light. The solar system is a caricature of its real-world self: the darkness of space interspersed with five orbs of light that make up the planets in the game.
This simple diorama serves as the level select menu, and the overall minimalist presentation of 6180 The Moon is appealing and striking in equal measure. Furthermore, the text-based dialogue between planets is utterly charming. Moon is a very earnest character, whose concern for his fellow planets is touching. Earth is somewhat impressionable, Venus is vain, and Mercury is a tad paranoid and excitable. These varying personality traits result in some brilliant exchanges between the planets, and the humour is honest and simple, adding to the overall charm this game exudes.
A statement of understatement, 6180 the moon is a captivating game. Unique in every sense of the word, this title is overwhelming due to its humble, pure, underwhelming nature. Simple in its presentation, yet by no means shallow in its execution, 6180 the moon is a must-play for anyone who enjoys platformers or is looking for something new and original.