Demo News: Moira
I’ve got a deadly soft-spot for Gameboy inspired-games. Like Achilles’ hill, if you happen to hit me with a spear in that particular spot, I will die and have a higher chance to drop my rare loot (0.1% instead of 0.01%). Moira, then, is a source of both excitement and fear because it so accurately nails the feel of Gameboy era platformer-RPG that I had to leave the house in full chainmail today.
Perhaps being unable to choose whether they liked Kirby, Zelda or Megaman better, developer Onagro Studios decided “what the hell” and made a game that combines them all. Gameplay here revolves around Rubik’s (a protagonist who carries a surprising lack of cubes in his inventory) ability to absorb the power of his foes and use it against them… perhaps add X-COM to the list of inspirations. Rather than absorb the local king’s power of ‘arbitrarily-granted position of dominance over the population’, Rubik does the good thing and sets out to find and rescue his missing wizardly mentor. Given that his mentor is a wizard, I’m fond of suspecting he probably just wandered off somewhere absent-mindedly and will return just in time to assist in the last battle, except perhaps palette swapped, like Gandalf did.
While the game may wear the dress and mannerisms of an RPG, the ability-absorbing power is what enables the Megaman-style shooty elements join the fray. You have RPG staples straight from a certain action-RPG like beam-shooting swords, boomerangs and bombs. However, there’s also plenty of projective weapons including beams and daggers which double as platforms, combined with fast-paced gameplay and relatively tough boss fights, which all serve bring a bit more of the ‘platformer’ back to the platformer-RPG trope. It’s a good combination that works well, and makes one wonder why Megaman itself never received a proper RPG-style or perhaps Castlevania SOTN-style do-over. Oh, right. And yeah. And that too. Ahem, anyway. The gameplay of Moira so far feels tight, and does a magical job of fusing its derivative elements to evoke nostalgia, but taking that and making it feel like its own game.
The game is still in early development so it will probably be a while before any finished product is conjured up, but the demo casts a pretty satisfying mix of length and gameplay, and gives you quite a few abilities to play with thanks to a fun mix-n-match system. It was over too soon, but really, that just shows how positive my experience playing it was.