The Mooseman is a game that caught my interest due to its “noir” style. A style that was very well used in games such as Limbo, which I would say I am a fan of. The noir style is not widely used across many games, as we all demand and enjoy colour, and as our displays display more colours than ever before it makes sense for that is the way technology has progressed. I can remember reading new console specs as I went from a Master System to Mega Drive and being amazed at how many more colours could actually be displayed.
But here we are some twenty plus years on in black and white. The change in style that a noir game brings, in this case, it is almost chalk/coal drawn, is a refreshing change for me compared to the usual colourful games we are spoilt with, and I have to say makes a positive change to creating the game’s atmosphere in making the game have that “haunting” feel to it. The atmosphere is only added to by the echoed tones and chanting sounds that accompany the games look.
The game its self is a side-scrolling puzzle/platform game set in the mysterious lands of Perm Chud’ tribes (I got that from the developer’s website!) where you play the part of a tribesman called Mooseman. A mythological being from Perm animal style object, who has the ability to transcend between the living world and the spirit world. This transcending between the two worlds enables you to see things in the spirit world you would not be able to see in the world of the living. It also enables you to take certain actions with objects or animals you would otherwise not be able to see or be able to interact with depending on which plane you currently inhabit.
The game itself feels rather slow-paced. At first, I felt this was going to be a hurdle I would struggle to get over to enjoy the game. But as the game progressed I could see why the pacing was set the way it is. The game is clearly a game (no shit), but also an experience with it using its source material of the Russian Perm regions Chud tribe folklore, and capturing the mysteriousness of this lonesome tribesman making his way through this adventure.
As you go through the adventure, you can collect hidden artifacts that can be uncovered by completing a puzzle or simply transcending from one plane to another. The game also introduces further skills to Mooseman in the form of a bow and arrow for killing enemies and glowing staff, which acts as a shield. As you would expect these skills are well intertwined into the game and crucially required to progress through the game.
Mooseman’s look is certainly uncommon and the use of the Perm region Chud tribe must be a first in video games? This is certainly an original game if you are looking for something a bit of a different and original theme. It plays well, and it is a memorable experience that feels really authentic throwing artifacts from tribes and Russian text at you (this can at times make the story somewhat difficult to follow at times). It is however on the short side and relatively easy with plenty of checkpoints. You can pretty much complete the game in around three hours. But it is three hours I am glad I spent with Mooseman and certainly well worth the experience.
Beard Score: 7/10
Genre: Platformer, Action,
Publisher: Sometimes You
Release: 18/07/2018 (Switch)
Format: Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch