Moon Diver ReviewJason Leyanna
Moon Diver - now available for the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade - is the combined effort of director Koichi Yotsui, developer Feel Plus, and publisher Square-Enix. Koichi Yotsui also directed the arcade game Strider in addition to Moon Diver.
Moon Diver is a 2D sidescroller, with 3D graphics, and also implements some RPG elements. The characters level up as you play, their stat increases are left to your discretion allowing you to choose how the character grows throughout the game. You can play Moon Diver solo, but the true experience to be had is the multiplayer. The more players you have the easier it is to make it though the levels, as you only restart at the beginning of the level if every player dies simultaneously. Moon Diver has a total of 12 stages in the game, each consisting of smaller sub-stages. You have the choice between four characters, each with different initial attributes: Seyfert, Hitori, Toiby, Surion. Silence is also a playable character with one of the downloadable content (DLC) packs.
The story revolves around the moon divers, which are ninjas that are Earth's last hope to reclaim their planet. Inanimate objects have been brought to life in the 22nd century.
You use the left control stick to move your character. The other four buttons on the right side execute different moves, while the left control pad selects which special move you will perform when you press Circle. The Left and Right trigger buttons duck and barrel roll respectively. The player may choose up to four moves that have been collected during gameplay, to use for each stage. At the end of each stage you may pick different moves, perhaps ones that have been recently picked up. You fight many enemies simultaneously and help your allies (when in multiplayer).
You can play with up to four players at a time. There are online modes as well as local options. Online includes a quick match, custom match, and create a match. Sometimes it can be hard to differentiate characters when people pick the same character from the select screen, as they just have P1, P2 etc. above their character. Moon Diver includes the classic "Go" text with arrows to indicate the need to move in that direction to get to the next section, similar to other classic side-scrollers.
The graphics during the gameplay are good and don't detract from gameplay. The story is revealed using primarily anime-style cut-scenes, which seem a little out of place as they seem much different to the game's traditional 3D graphics. The background music greatly adds to the game to make it feel more epic and makes a feeling of tension to go along with the constant action. The camera zooms in and out according to where each character is in proximity to each other. This is done fluidly and works well for Moon Diver.
Moon Diver, overall, is a fun and addicting sidescroller, with throwbacks to its classic counterparts. If you are looking for an inexpensive and fun game for either local multiplayer or online multiplayer, Moon Diver is a great addition to your PSN or XBLA library.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.