Mythology is a beautiful, yet bizarre thing. I’m no aficionado, but I enjoy it because of the wonderful stories and deep lore. Therefore, when a game utilises it at its core, I am keen to dive right in. The Mooseman is a strange, but striking title that’ll capture your attention from the opening gambit.
Developed by Morteshka and published by Sometimes You, this is a single-player adventure title. It uses a distinct monochromatic palette and relies heavily on tribal imagery. Moreover, it aims to educate its fanbase with knowledgeable titbits and real to life artefacts.
The Mooseman is confusing but intriguing.
With mythology at the heart of everything The Mooseman offers, I found the action to be a little confusing. However, this doesn’t detract from its fascinating concept or its wonderful style. Instead, it compiles its ideas in a surreal and dreamlike fashion. This didn’t come as a shock to me, as many of the fables have supernatural or religious undertones. If you decide to take this on, you’ll have to go with the flow. Consequently, it’s a wild ride full of drama, weird imagery, and unusual creatures.
The plot is based on the mythology of Komi as well as other Finno-Ugric peoples. The action utilises three key characters, The Mooseman, the shaman, and one of the sons of Yen (the creator God). The latter character must travel to the underworld to collect Shondi (the sun). Subsequently, if he fails his task, the world will be eternally cold. With many monsters to overcome, supernatural powers to utilise, and minor puzzles to solve, this is both beautiful and challenging.
An excellent blend of mechanics.
Where The Mooseman excels is its wonderful blend of mechanics. Moreover, the drip-fed elements prevent the action from becoming overwhelming. As you start your journey, you’ll use basic platforming controls and nothing else. This quickly evolves as you find a mask that enables you to see images from a supernatural plain. This special power allows you to solve problems, reach new heights and control surrounding beings. Furthermore, its brilliant use of monochromatic imagery adds to the striking nature of the game. If you put on your mask, you’ll move mountains with a turtle, or drag logs with a snake. It’s very odd but strangely alluring.
Furthermore, once you collect the Shondi from the depths, it acts as a shield. This illuminating presence protects the user from one hit only! If you are struck, the power diminishes and you must activate it again. Though it was easy enough to do, this adds a layer of complexity to the gameplay. You must time the use of this ability to protect yourself from relentless flying beasts. Consequently, if you don’t, you’ll die repeatedly. I adored the simplicity of the approach, as it allowed you to focus on the educational elements. On your journey, you’ll find artefacts that contain in-depth information about tribal cultures and the fables you are experiencing.
The Mooseman is stunning.
The developers focused on some interesting mechanics, but I loved their artistic approach. The side-scrolling nature of the gameplay, combined with the stunning tribal imagery, was amazing. Furthermore, the contrasting monochromatic imagery worked beautifully with the surreal theme. It could have been easy for Morteshka to dip into the realms of absurdity. Instead, however, they focused on the wonderful myths and awe-inspiring artefacts of the Finno-Ugric people. Alongside this, you’ll experience some creepy and weird monsters and some unusual but interesting landscapes. The standout level has to be the underwater area where the hero is chased by a fish. The scenery is utilised for cover as you dodge the fish’s attention. It was particularly spectacular thanks to the combination of every mechanic and the horrendous nature of the aquatic enemy.
Each scene was dramatic and was enhanced by the excellent audio. With a blend of haunting tunes and airy sounds, it’s hard to dislike what you hear. Unsurprisingly, clichéd tribal music can be heard throughout, which may annoy some of you. I, however, didn’t mind it as it suited the theme without being OTT. What I also enjoyed, was the excellent environmental sounds. There was nothing better than listening to footsteps in the snow, the sound of the wind blowing, or the splash of water. The realistic noises add to the experience while transporting you to each location.
Simple to play.
With an array of abilities to learn, it could have been complicated. Luckily, though, its basic approach is simple to understand. Using your special abilities is easy, and shooting your bow takes little practice. Therefore, this can be mastered with ease. Furthermore, the responsive controls help with the platforming moments. The puzzle elements sadly won’t test you, but they are interesting and enjoyable nonetheless.
With many artefacts to find, there is both longevity and replay value for completionists. Moreover, any keen historians will be interested in the story behind each trinket you find. Sadly, though, the main body of the game is minuscule! This is where The Mooseman falls short. I was disappointed that the action ended prematurely, as I was desperate for more. With only 2 hours’ worth of story, you will be left wanting! This being said, its quality makes it great value for money.
The Mooseman is brief but brilliant.
Though its mediocre length left me disappointed, I still adore it. It’s hard not to love every element on offer, as they are all brilliant. The strange but alluring story is captivating, and this is supported by the dramatic audio. Consequently, it’s touching, unusual, and will get under your skin. Therefore, I can’t help but recommend this wonderful indie title. Will you discover every artefact hidden within The Mooseman? Unlock your powers, explore the strange world, and save humanity from the eternal cold.