After a longer than expected wait, the Moon Chronicles saga has finally resumed on 3DS. Thankfully this DLC brings all the remaining episodes together at once. Even better, they make for a satisfying conclusion to the groundwork laid in Episode 1 all those months ago.
Episode 2 is where the narrative really starts to pick up, moving away from intriguing (but cryptic) points to a fully developed sci-fi story. When we last left Major Edward Kane he was just beginning to discover the Moons many mysteries. Now questions will start being answered … and the answers won’t be pleasant. The story continues to captivate as it’s slowly fleshed out. Each episode breaks into individual chapters which is fitting for a handheld game, even if they do vary substantially in completion time. There are a few occasions you might want to backtrack to a save point, less you risk replaying larger stretches. Generally speaking though the structure works, and everything is spread out pretty well.
Moon Chronicles is still a game of exploration. It displays a great map on the touch screen, and you’ll want to make sure you cover every corner. It’s hard to overlook searching for alien artifacts to unlock VR missions. Health and weapon upgrades that are tucked away are not the sorts of things you’ll want to miss. And the various terminal which expound on the absorbing plot of sci-fi horror are a big incentive to not blitz through the game, but be thorough.
Combat remains a key part to the experience, and new weapons help drive that point home. There are new extraterrestrial enemies to use them on also. The game still records statistics too, so accuracy takes on greater meaning. The boss encounters are challenging and memorable, although I do wish Renegade Kid put more time into making the bosses more individual. They are often familiar, yet bring a change of tactics (and locales) to keep things fresh.
The remote droid takes on more of a starring role in these later chapters, bringing additional puzzle elements to the games. I wish the Moon Buggy would’ve featured comparably. It’s still relatively limited, which is a shame – it’s fun to ride around the surface, and provides some diversity to the both the gameplay and visuals.
Speaking of the visuals, this game looks very good in motion. That’s really the only way to take the sights in, as still screens do a disservice. Even with the 3D cranked to the max, this is a very smooth game. And I suggest leaving the 3D activated, as the depth is truly impressive. This is a game that makes me want a new 3DS with its face-tracking technology, not to mention second C stick. With that in mind …
You can rest assured this game is optimized to control as well as can be expected for whatever model 3DS you’re using. The stylus is fine, the face buttons are an option, and you can always adjust the difficulty if you are finding it overly challenging to control well on the older machines. The Circle Pad Pro is also an option for those that have the accessory.
I do feel there are a few other small areas for improvement. I still find the sound effects a bit weak, and they don’t compare favorably to the immersive soundtrack. Without giving a spoiler, I’ll also say I found the brevity of the ending cinema disappointing . It’s short of details, and left me unsatisfied with lingering questions – cliffhangers for Moon Chronicles 2 perhaps?
When all is said and done however, Moon Chronicles is a success. While I can’t say the episodic structure (and delays) worked for me, ultimately the cost and wait was worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed Moon Chronicles on 3DS, and the entire game is impressive! It’s definitely worth finding out what secrets lie beneath the Moon’s surface. Buy a season pass today, and hope that some new adventures may soon find their way to the Wii U.