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Moon Switch

Moon Switch

Moon Switch

is a role-playing adventure game developed by Love-de-Lic and first published in 1997 by ASCII Entertainment for the PlayStation in Japan. Moon is set within a fictional role-playing game where "the hero" has wreaked destruction, killing hundreds of creatures and looting homes. The player takes on the role of a supporting character in this world, attempting to undo the damage done by the hero. Moon has been praised by critics for how it parodies the conventions and tropes of role-playing games.Time follows a set calendar that runs in real time. Solarday, a day-off, is the equivalent to Sunday. Crescenday is Monday, Blazeday is Tuesday, Tearsday is Wednesday, Leavesday is Thursday, Coinsday is Friday, and Echoday is like Saturday. The world's inhabitants (and the animal's souls, too) follow their own regular schedules each week. Hero leaves behind the corpses of the animals he's killed all over the world. Boy must catch the soul that manifests, whereupon the soul is whisked away to the Moon and the Boy obtains "Love". A soul appears during a certain time of day each week.The player increases Boy's Love Level by discovering the secret wishes of Real Moon's people. Boy must then grant the idiosyncratic wishes of each person. Sometimes Love comes from readily apparent events, but there are secret and time-limited events Boy must fulfill. "Love" grows by levels. The player preserves progress by going to bed and entering a dream state. By leveling up Boy, the time he can exist in the world (his "action limit") increases. When Boy's "action limit" falls to zero, it's game overIn the game, the player can change the background music at nearly any time. One can purchase or find "MoonDiscs" (M.D.), each of which grants one new song performed by commercial artists. Some locations, of course, have programmatic music. The player can also collect other special items. "Name cards" are cards featuring the in-game characters, which reveal information and hints about their background and wishes. "Chips" are integral to the game's story. They act as sacred texts that reveal the past, the present, and the future of Real Moon. The player must decide what to do based on the words and pictures featured on the chips.Convoluted JRPG stories are skewered by the minutes of a nonsensical backstory, which Boy skips through before the player can read it. Queen Aphrodite has been abducted and taken to the moon. The perpetrator, Dragon, will wreak millions of calamitous years upon the people of Love-De-Gard with her power. Yet, the people have produced a hero who must travel to Dragon Castle and destroy the beast. After playing through a few typical RPG scenes (random battles, an airship sequence, etc.), the boy is ordered by his mother to go to bed and obediently does so. However, the television on which he was just playing Fake Moon switches back on by itself, and the boy is sucked into the world of Moon, a land called "Love-de-Gard". Its people and its story resembles Fake Moon's.

The soundtrack to Moon was composed by over 30 independent Japanese musicians, perhaps the most prominent of which is The Thelonious Monkees, Love-de-Lic's internal name for its sound team, headed by Hirofumi Taniguchi. He would later compose music for Love-de-Lic's other games, as well the games from its spin-off companies. The game's musical score is a wide mix of genres ranging from pop music to traditional Japanese koto music, as well as having both instrumental and vocal tracks. One of the gameplay mechanics of Moon called the "MoonDisc" (MD) player even allows the person playing the game to arrange their own soundtrack with up to 36 pieces of music, for certain situations during the story.At the time that Moon released, pretty much every RPG in existence unquestioningly followed this trend, but Moon stuck out from the pack by weirdly billing itself as an “Anti-RPG”. And what a weird journey it is. Moon undoubtedly shows its age with some of its design and presentation choices, but the overall experience is definitely worth a look, especially for those who enjoyed Undertale. Moon’s story begins as something of a meta-game, in which you play as a young boy playing an RPG clearly based heavily on Dragon Quest. After he’s told to go to bed by his mum, the boy turns the game off, but it immediately turns itself back on and draws him in, transporting him into the land of Love-De-Gard. Here, the hero of the RPG roams the land in an ongoing quest to level up, and he achieves this by killing random animals he finds and leaving their corpses to rot. The boy is shaken by this, but he’s soon visited by the Queen of the Moon and charged with the sole responsibility of retrieving these animals’ souls and thus spreading ‘Love’ across the land. To say that the narrative of Moon is odd is quite the understatement; this is the sort of game that just becomes more deliciously unhinged the further in you go. A big part of this draw is the self-satirical bent of the writing, which frequently pokes fun at instituted JRPG conventions. For example, if you visit the town baker and try to enter his home – as you would do in thousands of other RPGs – he gets upset at you for being so rude and creepy and quite rightly throws you out. Goofy moments like this are then contrasted against abrupt instances of dark incidents, like when the boy watches the hero torch a quivering and clearly frightened slime with magic lightning. It’s a strange but effective balance between the two tones, and Moon strikes that balance well, making for a consistently enjoyable story from start to finish.Though it’s designed as a satirical mockery of RPGs, Moon’s gameplay itself scarcely resembles that of an RPG. Instead, it’s really more like a point-and-click adventure. The world of Love-De-Gard operates on a set schedule that calls to mind the time-limited design of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and you have to plan each day of your week around the events that you want to achieve that way. Your boy has a stamina meter that governs how long he can be awake, and if it happens to drop to zero before he can get back to a bed, the boy collapses and it’s a game over. So, each day is ultimately a matter of hedging your bets on how much you think you can do with your limited time. (Source: www.nintendolife.com)

 

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