It is fair to say that indie games on Xbox are now more popular than ever, with the easy access due to ID@Xbox (Independent Developers at Xbox).
The ability to self-publish games has opened up the market to game styles Triple-A companies wouldn’t make. Especially a game of this style which is basically just art porn but in the best of ways.
This game draws inspiration from Perm Animal Style which existed in the 12th century in Russia. But because of the lack of knowledge of these myths, it is also drawn from the animal style’s based on the culture’s of komi-Permians, komi-Zyrians, Mansi and Saamic people.
The story of the game is just fascinating even if at sometimes a little hard to understand. A long-long time ago the world was created out of an egg-shell by a god named Yen. In the murky depths of the endless ocean, the Lower World was born.
The Middle World was made for the men to dwell, and the Upper World was where the ancient gods would reside. A multitude of spirits dwells among the layers of creation, guarding their secrets in the dark.
Embark on a journey through all the worlds of ancient myth, find artifacts of Chud’ tribes and solve all the mysteries of finno-ugric tales.
You are the Mooseman and you have the ability to see all that is hidden to the mortal eye. You are about to visit the three aforementioned layers of this universe.
The most lackluster part of the game are the puzzles, it feels like they were added last minute to appeal to more people. There are only a few puzzles in the game that are of an increased difficultly and even those are easy to beat so there is no real challenge to the game.
However, it’s clear this game wasn’t really meant for puzzles, I think it would have been more fun if it was just a walking simulator with no puzzles and a linear storyline.
There is the possibility though that releasing it as a walking simulator would have further amplified another of its drawbacks, that being the length of the game even with my own sub-par gaming abilities it still only took about 3 1/2 hours to play through the entire thing.
Now let’s talk about where the games biggest strength is the art, this is the reason to buy this game and what made me give such a high score. The art is phenomenal its hard to look away the art is beautiful I LITERALLY CAN’T SAY ENOUGH GOOD THINGS ABOUT IT.
If you ever find yourself in a conversation with a group of friends where the aim is to look like you know your stuff about indie games quote this as an example. From level to level you would have found yourself thinking “There has to be one bad piece of level design or art!?” but there isn’t it’s so beautiful, it is art porn at its finest.
Drawing from the wealth of mythologies made this game so fun to look at, for the first few levels it’s a little strange but once you get into it you really get into it. This is a win for the game because after the final lever I wanted so much more, which leads to some degree of replayability, even for such a short game.
There is a little more to The Mooseman than the art style though, the collectibles come from two different aspects which are the myths and the artifacts.
The myths are collected by lighting different statues and they serve the game to fully explain the story and to give you insight into the culture’s and the myths of these people. Once you have totally completed the game it is a treat to go back and read all of them and absorb these cultures.
The second collectible is the artifacts which are pulled directly from texts and things you can actually look up and see in museums (or if you’re close enough go to). This adds even more to the game because these are not just “Beat the game and you get them all“. You have to go look and find them and some of them are extremely challenging to find but with enough dedication you can find them. They don’t really add anything ability wise but they sure are fun to collect.
Another spot, where the game shines is the audio soundtrack, which can be found here and is totally free and is a great background noise if you’re trying to meditate or just relax. The audio track fits so well with the style of the game as this game.
While the puzzles seem like they were an after thought they aren’t the only down side. While the audio in general is great there is a track played between levels with lyrics and the first one is translated but after that they’re in foreign languages that can leave you feeling disengaged.
The biggest reason to buy this game is because of the art, it feels like walking through a fine art gallery but never leaving your couch. Unfortunately your journey through the art gallery is short lived because as mentioned previously if you’re good at games this one will only give you about 2 to 3 hours of gameplay.
That two to three house is with the puzzles which are more of an inconvenience than an asset to the game. There is only really one difficult section which means this game is best at its best when you sit down with friends or have had a rough day and your just trying to relax.
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Mooseman is art meeting games at it's finest.
- Overall - 7.5/107.5/10
If you or a friend you know is into artistic games this is it for you one of the greatest parts of this games it to just sit back and look at it. The puzzles aren’t really challenging but for me that isn’t a really big deal. For the price and what you get this is a total buy.