Undead labs broke into the video game scene with a bang in 2013 with their first IP, State of Decay, an open world survival horror game. They haven’t been sleeping in their cubicles since then and have emerged from their scheming and planning to unleash their latest game, Moonrise, upon the world! It’s a stab in a very different direction than State of Decay and is kind of a catch-all collectible card game, mixing in elements of PvP, pet management, and a few more. Let’s take a closer look at it!
Moonrise, Undead Labs latest game release, immerses you in a world of cute and magical creatures called Solari. They’re all fun and games until the games namesake comes about and turns them into still-mostly-cute-but-very-evil Lunari. You play the part of an aspiring master Warden, on a mission to free the Lunari from their evil spell and turn them back into the adorable, good creatures they were meant to be. Combining real time play, pet collecting and management, PvP, PvE, and even your own personal character to level and manage, Moonrise seems to have it all.
The story is not terribly intricate and ultimately the game is more play driven than story driven, though there is enough to warrant cut scenes and dialogue. You launch into a magical world where there are these super cute creatures called Solari. You can tame them and keep them as pets as long as you promise to feed them and water them and take them out for walks, etc. etc. However, the twist is that when the..wait for it..MOON RISE comes along, these cute and lovable creatures turn into still-mostly-cute-but-very-evil Lunari. As an aspiring Master Warden, it is your job to cure the Lunari of their curse, and then you can collect them as your pets and ultimately become The Master Warden.
Moonrise mixes quite a few aspects of some very popular games all into one. There is the standard card collecting business that doubles as a pet collecting game as well since your pets are managed on cards with stats and abilities. Like Pokemon, your pets can be evolved after leveling them and unlocking their various features. Combat takes place in real time, so your pets attack as fast as you can select their move and then however long it takes them to cast and recover. Not only is there PvE, but you can battle other players, similar to WoW’s pet battling system. On top of all of that, your character also has abilities to manage, can interact in battles, and otherwise has things to manage and level.
The game itself is cartoon-esque with heavy anime/Japanese influence, so it’s not exactly ground breaking in the graphics department. However, despite it being in Early Access, the graphics are great and the transitions and effects are very smooth. For a rig built to play a pretty decent GPU/CPU load game, Moonrise is cake.
The voice acting and audio is done very well. The background music for the main screen and the battles is interesting and doesn’t seem to get on your nerves after a few hours. Again, it’s a little simple but the driving force of the game is really the card collecting and battles, so the sounds won’t make the game necessarily, but they certainly don’t break this game or make it annoying and unplayable by any means.
If you are into the card collecting, pet collecting, pet battling, and otherwise pet/card management
games, this is probably a game that is relevant to your interests and worth checking out. I got a little bit of a PlayStation Home vibe from the main beginner area – you basically are walking around with the other player avatars while going in between beginner dungeons and quests. The game is also very clearly designed for touch-screen play, swiping to walk, swiping the pets spell bars out to use, etc. It’s not a terrible handicap for non-touch screen play, but it definitely doesn’t make it feel natural at first. Once you get into the thick of the battles, it becomes second nature. Otherwise, as far as I’m concerned, it’s incredibly well polished for a Early Access game. Undead Labs is clearly trying to bring together the best of some incredibly popular games and they may have a really good shot at tapping into all of those audiences.
***We were sent a review copy of Moonrise for the purposes of this preview.