The sun has vanished and now the moon must set off on a journey to find it. That is the simple, fascinating and, at times, charming story to 6180 the Moon, a sidescrolling puzzle platformer where you control a tiny white orb and guide it left to right with the help of the 3DS’ top and bottom screens. Sure, this may sound confusing on paper, but rest assured everything comes together seamlessly with surprising results. In short, Developer Turtle Cream has crafted a unique experience that combines both inventiveness and varying degrees of platforming challenge that lends itself well to the Nintendo 3DS.
Now, to clarify, 6180 the Moon is a title I initially missed when it was released on the Wii U in 2016. From the get-go, I saw the potential of the GamePad as a neat platform mechanic though, in the end, I wasn’t drawn to it. Here on the 3DS, 6180 certainly makes the case for your attention as one of the more noteworthy indie titles on the handheld. Just be warned: various challenges await you, but be prepared for some slight annoyances.
Your main goal in 6180 the Moon is to maneuver the orb to a warp point at the end, using the 3DS’ dual screens as a means of extended platforming while shifting focus from top to bottom. This mechanic, which takes a few levels to get used to, does wonders to convey the sense of long jumps and not dreading the fear of death (which in the game only comes at the hand of touching conveniently placed spikes). For instance, if you leave the bottom screen, the little orb (or the moon in this case) will reappear on the top screen and vice versa. All in all, falling repeatedly is encouraged, which leads to some interesting platform jumping scenarios.
Visually, 6180 the Moon is mainly minimalistic with its black and white motif accompanied by a simple and eerie background score, but it’s rather aesthetically pleasing. Sure, nothing may stand out from level to level aside from varying platform obstacles, yet it feels in groove with the game’s atmosphere, which is at many points dark and kinda somber.
Though the gameplay mechanics of the 3DS version may sound slightly off-putting to some, thankfully there are checkpoints littered throughout each level to ease one’s worries. However, do expect to see a lot of trial and error when you just need to get that perfect jump down at the right time whilst avoiding contact with spikes. Not only that, even when you get the hang of traversing through each obstacle, you may soon encounter a platform jump that requires a rigorous leap of faith. These instances are very few within the game, but they do create a slight derail of one’s platforming rhythm. Still, there’s always that bit of satisfaction when you complete a difficult course with precise platforming, and this game has plenty of those moments. It’s those moments in a game such as a puzzle platformer that define the product, and I must say they made me smile.
Sadly, though, the fun in 6180 the Moon stops sooner than you expect. The game spans 5 different worlds with 10 levels each, and you’ll probably see yourself completing it in well under 4 hours. In addition, even with the small amount of content in the main adventure, there isn’t much left in terms of replay value (unless you like some half-baked achievements). Still, at under $4 on the eShop, you aren’t necessarily getting ripped off, but you will wish there was more to offer.
Overall, 6180 the Moon is a quirky and fun platformer with a brilliant mechanic that’s finely tuned on the Nintendo 3DS. While it’s a short ride, it still offers a decent amount of challenging puzzles that will hone your platforming skills. The universe may be vast, but 6180 shows it’s worth saving even if the adventure is gone in a flash of light.