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Review: Moon Diver

The highly anticipated Moon Diver, billed as the next Strider mostly due to Kouichi Yotsui’s involvement, is finally out. Its side-scrolling, hack-and-slash four-player gameplay breathes a whisper of this possibility to fans. Moon Diver follows a group of elite ninjas sent on a final mission to reclaim the planet from the brink of apocalypse. With high claims and an action-packed setting just how does it stack up?

The game starts by giving you some background as the opening. Sadly, even with that story segment, the plot is highly philosophical and perhaps best ignored. Moving beyond the story, controller setting work very well. You’re on a post-apocalyptic earth, fighting off waves of monsters to stop Faust. That being said, the combat is very fun and offers levels of depth.

Many of the game’s enemies have various tricks and you must always keep this in mind. This can range from teleporting, exploding, and invincibility, to even keeping a distance. The most interesting of all the enemies would be the red guys; this is completely due to their ability to block. Why is this interesting? You, for whatever reason, cannot.

As you make it around halfway through, the game unfortunately suffers from “PSN Size.” Several levels are longer than they should be, like the last level, which is around five times longer than the normal level, resulting in a sharp learning curve  that can turn off gamers. These levels include several laser and Gatling turrets that require several skills you lack or flat out kill you in seconds. Based on how the game is designed, even in co-op this can become very stressful.

Unfortunately this design element isn’t the only bad co-op choice. Since you gain abilities via orange orbs, these are first come first serve. Sadly, they’re not shared, either; while this generally isn’t bad, some skills like healing can put you at a disadvantage. Disappointingly enough, skills are not shared between characters either, and the host only keeps stage progress/gets story trophies.

It’s not all bad, though, even with so much action and adventure, it was lag free. Finding a game was quick and painless, and I experienced no problems in anything. I am very impressed that the online is completely viable and worthwhile. Playing with friends can be a lot of fun since the game awards medals based off performance. In addition, several skills can be co-oped, which adds a level of depth and can make harder paths far easier.

For anyone worried about the gameplay becoming stale over time, many levels have alternate paths. Most of these lead to special skills and offer a nice change of pace. To add a bit of depth to the system, several of the paths are hidden in plain sight. If you’re not big into looking, a few of them are only accessible if you do certain tasks.

All and all, Moon Diver is an amazingly fun game. Unlike a lot of downloadable games, it was problem free. There is a little of everything for everyone, from an RPG leveling system to a leaderboard. People not interested in online will be happy to know offline is also supported. That being said, the difficulty will ruin most gamer’s time. If you don’t mind cheap and frequent traps, you’ll love it; otherwise file this one under clearance/skip.

Moon Diver
Platform: PS3 (reviewed), 360
Genre: Platformer
Release Date: 3/29/11
Developer: Feelplus
Publisher: Square Enix
ESRB Rating: E10+ for Everyone 10+
MSRP: $14.99


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