INTRODUCING SPACE MOTH
From the studio that developed Star Hunter DX, 1CC Games and publisher Chorus Worldwide are proud to announce the release of Space Moth Lunar Edition. This vertical shmup is a polished and improved version of the 2016 DX release. Star Hunter and Space Moth were teased by Chorus Worldwide at the same time but of the two games, I was looking forward to Space Moth the most, simply because it’s vertical vs horizontal shmup. Don’t sleep on Star Hunter though, it’s a great game! Read our review here. If you were lucky enough to snag the physical pre-order they were both included in one split package. Available on all current platforms, the Nintendo Switch NA release has an incredibly low asking price of $7.99/£5.79. Let’s dig into the full review so you can understand why this price is such a bargain!
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Players are greeted with some smooth and subtle tunes on the main menu along with some barron side panels. I highly suggest going to the options menu and changing the border art to option three! It showcases both available ship choices firing at a boss. At players choice, they are given the chance to change the brightness of the border and add scanlines. Depending on your controller of choice now is the time to adjust controller settings especially for those using an arcade stick. Practice mode allows the player to retry areas or bosses previously faced, challenges show in-game achievements which I love, and there is also a ‘how to play’ which I will jam about soon enough. Upon starting the game I would recommend starting with Space Moth so we can understand mechanics then discuss the other ship option called Hawk DX-1.
Brace yourself for launch because once the game starts small but bright green enemoths (enemy moths heh) will begin to launch themselves toward your ship! Prepare to restart a few times once overtaken by the wonderful looking background of cherry blossoms. Our little moth is painted with a dark pink blending upward to a yellow hue, and bordered in black. The centre hitbox is bright yellow and easily visible using peripheral vision. This is a bug’s world and the enemies will reflect that in moths, butterflies, frogs, and beetles. The background slowly darkens as the Space Moth flies over weaved branches towards the boss in stage one. The player is met with a butterfly nearly half the size of the screen! I’m a big fan of this art style, and in a way, it looks as if a talented artist drew in a colouring book. All around it’s an incredibly vibrant looking game that helps boost replayability.
For the entirety of my time spent with Space Moth, I have been using the RAP Hyabusa arcade stick for Nintendo Switch. I have not felt any input lag, nor have I experienced any issues. Movement is smooth and players can slow down using the laser shot. The main menu allows the player to alter controls which is wonderful in general but especially for arcade stick users. Shifting from rapid shot to laser works seamlessly. Bombs will be lobbed from Space Moth so plan accordingly as it is not a “get out of jail free” card to use improperly!
Typically I’m looking for a pumping soundtrack while shmupping and that bar was set by Danmaku Unlimited 3. With Space Moth though, the tunes start subtle at the beginning of a level then rise to a crescendo towards the end. Each level is a journey and the music reflects that in a great way. Sometimes I lean into the calmness of the music when stuck in a sea of bullets looking to gain focus while looking for a way out. In addition to the soundtrack, I absolutely loved the sound effects. Enemies will make a crunch or POOF sound once defeated. Hidden items, bombs, and 1-UP’s sound with a cute chime effect. The most satisfying of all is when the player activates the soul absorption mechanic and collects skulls omitted by enemies.
MECHANICS? NO THANKS I KNOW A GUY
Skull Mode is the mechanic of Space Moth and it can be activated once the circle around the player’s ship is big enough. I typically wait until its largest size when the circle will change colours to activate it or if I’m in danger. Skull Mode will make enemy bullets change to skulls and become absorbed, with bigger skulls having a high score yield based on score multiplier. To start the skull mode circle to grow the player must use the rapid shot. Watch as the circle grows and time this mechanic perfectly to avoid danger and capitalize on scoring. All those skulls collected will sound like money to your ears and the player will want to continue finding ways to use this mechanic to the fullest.
The first enemy that comes to mind when talking bullet variety is the frogs! They send a swirling amount of bullets that swells to and fro. Some small enemies opt for lunging themselves at the Space Moth while others keep a distance and send a slow-spreading circle of bullets, only to add additional layers of a different shape and ferocity. This intensity is increased the most during boss battles when sixty seconds are on the clock and the bullets change per phase and the pressure is on. Bullet sizes and shapes change per enemy, then later with colour which adds a nice layer of variety. This is the type of game that can be enjoyed while playing and from watching others simply based on the beautiful spreading bullets sure to engulf the screen.
The replayability of Space Moth is only matched by its difficulty, which 1CC Games has planned on. This is a talented company that wants their players to feel a challenge by their game, and immense satisfaction for achieving that one-credit clear. For anyone that can obtain the 1CC? Congratulations to you! I then challenge you to take on the game using the alternate ship Hawk DX-1. This ship has the size pods that shoot bullets dragging behind with each movement vs the fixed position pods on the Space Moth. During skull mode, the circle will not move once activated. If these differences don’t sound like much then let me know after your first run! Once I did it helped me understand the skull mode mechanic better but also sat me down and secured my favourite ship as the Space Moth.
Space Moth is yet another excellent game by 1CC Games that I would highly recommend. I’m in love with the art style and addicted to chasing that one-credit clear. Controls are fantastic and the music stands out among others in the genre. After all that is said, this game is only $7.99/£5.79?! PICK UP THIS GAME! Thank you Chorus Worldwide for the review opportunity!
Review code provided
Platform: PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo
Release Date: 18/11/2021
No. of Players: 1
Category: Shooter, Arcade
Developer: 1CC Games
Publisher: Chorus Worldwide Games
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop