The Sun and Moon
Gameplay 8
Graphics 7
Sound 9

Don’t let the simple visuals fool you, The Sun and Moon is a devious platform title with a very interesting ground diving mechanic. Being able to jump into the ground means you’ll have to approach platforming in a whole new manner and makes for a challenging, but addictive experience. In addition to the arresting gameplay the game features a nice soundtrack by Dubmood and very responsive controls that keeps you in control of the action at all times.

Gameplay: It takes a while to wrap your head around the ground diving mechanic, but it makes for a challenging experience.

Graphics: Very minimal, but ensures that the focus is on the action.

Sound: Some fitting tunes provided by Dubmood

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The Sun and Moon

Developer: Daniel Linssen | Publisher: Digerati Distribution / Kot in Action Creative Artel | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Indie / Action | Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

Your goal in The Sun and Moon couldn’t be any simpler. Collect the three orbs found on each level and then jump into the wormhole that serves as an exit. The orbs are all clearly visible, so there is no element of exploration and the levels are short enough that each one can be completed in seconds. As far as platform titles go this one might sound very easy, but in reality it is quite a different matter.

In case the title sounds familiar, The Sun and Moon was the winner of a 48 hour Ludum Dare game jam. It is the brainchild of Daniel Linssen, who decide to flesh out the initial release and turn it into a full-fledged game. What sets this game apart from others in the genre is its rather interesting diving mechanic. Unlike a typical platform title where the platforms only serve as objects to jump on, The Sun and Moon enables you to jump into them. By holding down a button your tiny spherical character can dive into the ground. The twist is that while your momentum is conserved the gravity is reversed, so your character will end up “falling” upwards out of the ground again. It might sound rather confusing, but once you start playing it will all click in to place.

The Sun and Moon provides you with 150 levels that quickly ramp up in difficulty. Depending on how long it takes you to complete a level you can earn one of three medals, but don’t expect to obtain these without a lot of practice. Apart from the spikes that can kill you if you so much as graze them with your character each level is also suspended over a bottomless void. Fall off a platform or dive so deep into the ground that you fall right through and your character will plummet to its doom. You’ll restart instantaneous, but will have to redo everything you accomplished before death. Despite the minimalistic visuals the endless drops gave me a real sense of unease and this is probably the first ever 2D platform title where I experienced a mild sense of vertigo while playing.

You don’t have to complete the levels in order which is a relief as some are near impossible until you can master their flow. Although the initial selection of levels are mostly static, these soon give way to levels filled with constantly moving objects that can kill on contact. There are also levels where you have to take on a boss character, which makes for some interesting encounters.

The game makes use of very minimalistic visuals, but it fits the theme and mood very nicely. It doesn’t waste any resources on unnecessary objects, so everything you see on the screen will either help you our kill you. As you make your way through the levels of the ten systems, the color palette changes, but the graphics remain very sparse. The abstract backgrounds can be a little distraction initially, but once you get used to the visual style of the game it is easy to focus all your attention on the action. The audio is similarly sparse, with 8-bit sounding tunes from well-known chip-music artist Dubmood.

Since The Sun and Moon requires a great deal of precision I’m happy to report that the controls are very responsive. You’ll die a lot in this game, but it won’t be because of the controls. As with all platform titles using a controller is highly recommended, but the game works well with a keyboard as well, as the number of buttons are kept to a minimum. With good reflexes it is possible to complete levels using one flowing sequence, but accomplishing this requires a lot of practice. Even obtaining the crescent moon, full moon and especially sun medals for the levels is not an easy endeavor.

The Sun and Moon is not a game to play for storylines or character progression. It is one of those titles where you sit down to conquer a few levels and end up playing for much longer than you expected because you get sucked into the challenge. Since you always have a couple of levels available to take on it never reaches a point where you can’t progress because of a single tricky level. If you are not a fan of the genre then the unique ground diving mechanic is probably not going to do much to draw you in, but platformer fans looking for the next challenge will love what this game has to offer. If you are still not convinced you can check out the free 30 level version of the game online to get a better idea about what to expect from this full release.

System Requirements

  • OS: Microsoft® Windows® XP / Vista / 7
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Dedicated graphics card 5 years or younger
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Hard Drive: 120 MB available space
  • Additional Notes: Xbox controller supported
  • OS: Microsoft® Windows® XP / Vista / 7
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Dedicated graphics card 5 years or younger
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Hard Drive: 120 MB available space
  • Additional Notes: Xbox controller supported

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2 Comments

  1. Vhyia November 17, 2014
    Reply

    Looks a little pricey for such a simple game, but I’ll have a go at the free version

  2. Oceanf1 November 17, 2014
    Reply

    This is one of those games that is usually lost in the stream of new steam titles. Glad it got some coverage! I urge anyone still on the fence to check out the demo. It is made by a single dev and is a ton of fun.

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