Developer: Renegade Kid
Publisher: Renegade Kid
Platform: Nintendo 3DS (eShop)
Price: $8.99 (Each of the three remaining episodes will cost $1.99 when they become available)
Normally when you think of a first-person shooter your mind instantly thinks of the countless games of that genre that are available on home consoles and PC, and not on handheld systems. Well, that’s understandable since there are but a few first-person shooters on handheld systems that are very well-received. One of those games happens to be Moon, a Nintendo DS first-person shooter developed by Renegade Kid that released in 2009. Now this game has been remade on the Nintendo 3DS, but this time it has adopted the episodic style and it has been renamed Moon Chronicles. This marks the first time a first-person shooter has made its way to this system, and it’s really quite good. The first episode of Moon Chronicles is called One Small Step, and it introduces what the game has to offer very well.
The game’s story takes place in the not-so-distant future of 2058 and revolves around Major Kane, a soldier who has traveled to the Earth’s Moon to research a newly discovered hatch. After arriving and being told that hatch might have a connection to the “Roswell incident”, an event occurs that causes Major Kane to explore and investigate the mysterious hatch to try to unravel its secrets. In theory, this story would instantly grab someone like me who loves most things sci-fi, however, it never really accomplished that. It might be the fact that the story isn’t really all that appealing in this first episode. The story isn’t bad in any way, it just suffers from what most episodic games fail to do on their first episode, instantly introduce an interesting story. Although the story was not what I expected from this first episode, the gameplay, on the other hand, exceeded my expectations. This is where the game truly shines.
I’ve played very few first-person shooters on DS and I’ve had mostly negative experiences with them, especially regarding gameplay and controls, but I can honestly say that these are the two departments where Moon Chronicles shines. The game controls like you would think it would; Use the Circle Pad to move, use the stylus and the touchscreen to aim, and press the L button to shoot. That’s not all, if you for some reason you don’t to use the stylus and touchscreen to aim, you could use the A, B, X, and Y buttons (and the Circle Pad Pro, but I didn’t get a chance to try out this control scheme). You also have the liberty to choose from three other different control scheme, which includes a scheme left-handed players. Controlling Major Kane feels great. Strangely enough, I found using the stylus and touchscreen to aim very satisfying—this is coming from someone who’s not a big fan of this control scheme. The optional ABXY buttons to aim control scheme, however, leaves much to be desired. When using the ABXY buttons, it becomes quite difficult to aim since there’s a bit of a delay from when you press the button to when the reticle moves. It’s a short delay, but it becomes noticeable and troublesome when you have multiple enemies shooting at you. It’s still great that this optional scheme is available to those who want it, but aiming with the stylus and touchscreen is a great way to play this game.
Gameplay-wise, the first episode of Moon Chronicles is full of it, and boy, it’s fun. Right after Major Kane is sent to the hatch to explore, the actions starts. You get a gun right way, that’s useful against all of the pesky enemies. After a few minutes of shooting enemies, you’ll arrive at a point where you’ll find a Remote Access Droid (RAD). This robotic alien probe device is used to reach areas that are not accessible to Major Kane. As a weapon, RAD is quite useful since its equipped with ammo that briefly stuns enemies. One Small Step has a couple of boss battles that are a bit challenging, but at the same time they can be pretty easy. It really depends on the player’s skills.
The game looks great. The graphics are a huge step up from what the original DS game accomplished, however, this was expected since it’s a remake. Playing Moon Chronicles with the 3D on is recommended because it does enhance the overall experience a bit. Although, if you’re not a fan of 3D, don’t have to worry, it’s still great with 3D turned off. I’m not a huge fan of the soundtrack of the game. The tracks became bit bothersome to listen to, but that wasn’t enough to hurt my experience with the game.