One of the great things about Indie Game developers is that they bring new stories and ideas to a mass audience. They can also make sure that legends and fables live on in a new media form and spread their culture to the world. Morteshka, a small Russian developer, has done just that with their newest release on consoles and PC – The Mooseman.
Set in the lands of the Perm chud’ tribes, you are the Mooseman. Like a Shaman who travels through the worlds you are able to see the realms hidden from mortal sight. You will have to work your way through three lands, starting with the Low Lands, where the dead reside. You will use your powers to unfold the legends of the land.
The game is a 2-D side scrolling atmospheric adventure game. You use your power to switch between normal sight and the view of the spirit world that your mask gives you. You will also gain the power of light to protect yourself from the evils that lurk within the worlds you explore. Swapping worlds also opens new paths for you and the tools you need to solve the puzzles in the lands.
The graphics are very artistic. Most things in the game are represented in the rough forms of an old story. The art style is very distinct and goes well with the genre. The color palette is mostly black, white and grays – which brings a stark and barren feeling to the landscapes. The artifacts you collect are well drawn and represented in rainbow hues, which is a big contrast from the rest of the scenery. The music lulls you into the adventure by keeping pace with where you are. Unfortunately, the story telling frequently ends up lost in translation. At specific parts of the story a paragraph will appear on screen and the narrator will read part of the fable – but most of the time the on-screen image and language of the narrator is in the native tongue of the story. This means that you have no clue what is going on in the story and miss out on large portions of dialogue.
The Mooseman is out now on XB1, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Steam. With a price tag of about $7 you will get your money’s worth with game play, especially if you plan on gathering all the artifacts. Unfortunately, the language issues detract from some of the fluidity of story play as you are left guessing what is happening. If you are into creative art styles and learning about other cultures and their lore, this may be a title for you.