A narrative silent, which tells the lore of a world that is decadent, whose destiny is linked to a chosen, and the eternal conflict between light and darkness: it would seem the premise of a new Souls game by From Software, but this is not the case.

MOON The Shadow Dust is a Kickstarter funded by more than a thousand people, as well as the first project of software house independent Lantern Studio; it is a puzzle game point-and-click, in which the player will have to alternate control of the two protagonists in order to advance from room to room towards the top of a tower, the mysterious, to the search for the truth about the history of their alter-ego and the surrounding world.

The theme of good and evil, light and dark, is presented in a manner and style that is very fairy-tale, but less trivial than you’d expect from a title like this: within the game, the dialogues are completely absent, and the entire exposure events, past and present, is entrusted to movies, animations and music. The fund’s sound is, in fact, a perfect accompaniment for every single moment of the MOON The Shadow Dust, never intrusive, never tiring, always spot on and engaging.

However, the aesthetic of the game to hit more than any other thing. With a style inspired by the works of Studio Ghibli, Jean Giraud, and Shaun Tan, the MOON, The Shadow of Dust is created entirely by hand and is the backdrops that the characters have animations to twelve frames per second, with three levels for each frame; the result is fantastic to say the least, and can’t reproduce without smudging a beautiful fairy-tale atmosphere, as in every fairy tale offers moments of light and magic, and many dark and scary.

The MOON, The Shadow of Dust

  • Developer: Black Lantern Studio
  • Publisher: Coconut Island Games
  • Availability: 13/02/2020 PC/Mac/Linux/Steam
  • Version tested: Steam

The movies are numerous, long, over twenty minutes total within a game lasting about 5 hours; in spite of the events shown may appear to be unclear at first glance, replay the title (or cover the movies from the gallery in the main menu) allows you to gather the many details you don’t initially noticed.

Speaking of the gameplay proper, the MOON, The Shadow of Dust is divided into rooms, actual levels are independent between them, within which is present a riddle to solve to unlock the passage to the next room.

1Every room of the tower, the mysterious, manages to impress for its uniqueness and beauty.

There are small goodies and secrets scattered here and there, but except in rare cases, the solution to the puzzle appears to be intuitive and to overcome in a matter of minutes, even from players not particularly familiar to the genre: do not expect, therefore, a spiritual heir of The Witness, as a nice story to see and hear, able to move and spin a little bit of our increasingly rusty wheels of the brain. It is also possible to replay completed levels from the special menu on the main screen, without having to start a new game.

The controls are basic and intuitive despite the lack of a tutorial screen, and the control of the two protagonist is extremely simple. Also from this point of view, the MOON The Shadow Dust gutter care for the details: the developers have chosen to insert eight different animations for walking, making more convincing the responsiveness of the character to the input of the player, as well as the most palpable of his state of mind in the course of the adventure.

Having to necessarily find a defect in the title, we can say that the puzzles in the game sometimes does not shine for originality: the mysterious creature who accompanies the main character has the power to move in the “kingdom of shadows” to reach otherwise inaccessible areas, but we would have expected the application a little more dynamic perspective and changes of lighting, which, except for a single level are static and far too readable.

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The MOON, The Shadow of Dust is a beautiful, first job of the Lantern, Studio, beautiful to see and fun to play, simple in concept and well-tended in the making, he is able to entertain and be loved, even by the less passionate of puzzle game and, why not, also to snatch a few tear moved at the time of the conclusion of the adventure.

8
/10