GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon
Gameplay 8
Graphics 9
Sound 7

GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon is an intense roguelike hack-and-slash action game with a stunning traditional Japanese art style. The game features plenty of action and a variety of enemies, but a lot of grinding is required to make the most of them. The upgrade and crafting system is also a little convoluted, but overall the game is very addictive. It is not a title for players who dislike grinding, but those willing to put in the hours will find the experience very rewarding.

Gameplay: Progression is a little slow, but there’s plenty of action and great boss battles.

Graphics: The ukiyo-e style artwork is beautiful, to say the least.

Music: The soundtrack is excellent and features a nice variety of tunes

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GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon

Developer: Konami Digital Entertainment, GuruGuru | Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment | Release Date: 2022 | Genre: Action / Roguelike / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Thousands of years ago, the evil spirit of Ryukotsuki was sealed away by the first Getsu Fuma. However, it has been revived, and in the process, a giant chasm was created from which hell’s specters are pouring out to wreak havoc. Players must step into the role of the 27th leader of the Getsu Clan and embark on a journey into heal to seal the chasm. GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon is the rather unexpected sequel to the original side-scrolling action-adventure game released in 1987 for the Family Computer by Konami. However, apart from sharing some of the lore, Undying Moon has very little in common with its predecessor. Instead, it is a hack-and-slash roguelike title that sends players on an epic quest to hell and back. No knowledge of the prior game is necessary, but grabbing the Deluxe Edition will reward players with a playable digital copy of the original game, complete with translated menus. Unfortunately, nothing else was translated, which is a pity.

The first thing players will notice about Undying Moon is the incredible visuals inspired by the Japanese ukiyo-e art style. It’s not the first game to use this style as Ōkami did something similar, but the results are no less striking. One of the levels even uses The Great Wave of Kanagawa, perhaps one of the most famous historical examples of the art style, as inspiration. Starting out in the lands of limbo, the journey will take players through hellfire cliffs, misty peaks, frozen graveyards, and even an ancient castle filled with traps. Populating the beautiful-looking levels is an assortment of enemies based on supernatural entities and spirits from Japanese folklore. These include oni, skeletons, ravenous demons, infected cicada, rancid rats, and much more. Even more impressive are the massive bosses, with Ryukotsuki making an early appearance followed by fierce foes such as a colossal centipede, hydra, subterranean spider, and a nine-tailed fox. The 3D characters blend perfectly with the 2D levels, although things can sometimes become cluttered with all the flashy effects happening.

Once players get used to the beautiful art style, they will also notice that Undying Moon is not a typical platformer. Although the game features jumping and platforming, the real focus is defeating your enemies. Fuma can gain access to a wide range of weapon types, which can be upgraded to make them even more potent. Weapon plans drop randomly from defeated enemies, along with materials needed to craft them or unlock upgrades. Players can carry two primary weapons at a time, along with two secondary weapons, and can switch between them at will.

The secondary weapons tend to be more powerful and have ranged attacks but limited ammunition that are tied to a cooldown period. Each of the primary weapon types, ranging from katanas and fans to clubs, spears, and whips, also have a unique ability. The weapons’ speed, range, and power are very different, which makes for a unique experience using them. Initially, we loved using the katana for its speed but quickly grew to like the much slower but harder hitting spear.

Players must conquer eight levels in the game but are usually given a choice between two after beating each boss. This is provided they have found the key to unlock the second option, which is also randomly dropped by bosses. Alternatively, players can return to the Getsu Estate at the end of each level if they want to play it safe and bank all the materials they have accumulated. This is important as dying means losing everything, so the game has a big risk versus reward factor. While it also means that players will end up grinding the same levels, this is somewhat alleviated by the procedural nature of the levels. Levels, especially the latter ones with “fore” and “background” parts, can be maze-like, but fast travel points and a map are available to help out.

Although death means losing things like weapons, crafting materials, and so on, some permanent upgrades will make subsequent runs a little easier. It takes a while to wrap your head around all the different materials and systems, but things become a little clearer after a few run-throughs. For example, “Trained Skills” and “Secret Arts,” once unlocked, are permanent and bestows helpful rewards, such as increasing the number of health potions you can carry at a time. However, the materials used for these upgrades are lost if you die, so you will be out of luck if you don’t spend them or bank them back at the estate. Non-permanent upgrades are earned via the blue and purple souls that can be found in the game. These can be used to upgrade your weapons for your current run as well as increase your weapon powers or health. Some permanent unlocks will allow you to retain some of your materials or resources after death, but ideally, you’ll want to avoid death altogether.

From a gameplay perspective, Undying Moon is challenging but manageable. Each enemy only has one type of attack, so the onus is on you to learn what they are and how to counter them. Hacking and slashing will get you far, but your dodge roll is essential for getting out of sticky situations. Switching between weapons and remembering to use secondary ranged weapons also helps a lot. Once you have learned the enemy attack patterns and timing, the real fun begins, and it is possible to slash your way through a level without getting hit before taking down a boss flawlessly. Doing so is immensely satisfying, but the game has a couple of difficult settings to unlock to keep you challenged. Harder difficulties add new enemies, so don’t get too complacent after making a successful run or two.

Undying Moon, unfortunately, does not have any voice acting, but it is not really a story-driven game either. There is the occasional text box to read here and there, but most of your time will be spent hacking and slashing. The music is really good, though, with different styles used for levels, bosses and calmer areas, like the shops. At first, the controls can feel a little stiff as your character is locked in place when you start attacking, but you’ll soon learn how to cancel attacks with rolls and parries. Until then, you might find yourself slashing away at thin air a few pixels away from enemies if you are not careful. Some enemies can also lob projectiles at you through scenery, which can catch you by surprise.

Overall, the beautiful art style of Undying Moon drew us in, but the gameplay also quickly became addictive. There’s no doubt that the game is very repetitive, so players who don’t like grinding might find the overall pace a little too slow for their liking. The crafting and upgrade system is also a little too obtuse for its own good, which can add to the frustration. Finally, it’s impossible not to compare Undying Moon to Dead Cells, which offers a lot of the same aspects, but in a more enjoyable fashion. Nevertheless, if you are a fan of the genre and don’t mind putting in some effort, you’ll find a challenging and rewarding game. A successful run can be done in as little as half an hour, but don’t be surprised if you spend many more hours mastering the intricacies of this game.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10 (64-bit OS required)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4440 AMD Athlon 300GE
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Radeon RX 560
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 11 compatible sound card
  • Additional Notes: XInput Controller required
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10 (64-bit OS required)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-6400 AMD FX-8300/AMD Ryzen 3 2300U
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Radeon RX 480
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 11 compatible sound card
  • Additional Notes: XInput Controller required

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