Just when you thought every type of puzzle game has been pretty much covered on the AppStore, a real gem of a game appears. Moonlights by Jean-Philippe Sarda is one such game.
Looking somewhat like World of Goo, Moonlights sees you building sticky and bendy structures into the sky in order to reach the moon. These structures are built from nodes, so for example, add a node above two previously joined nodes and you’ll have a triangle. Add another and you have a second triangle. It’s then a case of building these triangular wire frames until they reach out to the moon. Sounds pretty simple right? Well, yes it does… that is until you add gravity into the equation, which not only causes the structure to act in a springy nature, but also if you tilt the device the structure will lean in that direction.
Early levels require you to simply build up to the moon and ensure that at least one node is within the moons surface and hold it for 3 seconds to complete the level. However, some levels give you a set quota of nodes to use, so you must be strategic in your placement, if you are to make it to the moon before running out. It is possible to remove nodes by holding down on the screen and dragging a marquee over the nodes you wish to remove, and not only is this helpful for undoing moves, but later levels require this in order to succeed. For example in one level, your structure is hanging down from the top of the screen, and in order to reach the moon you must build a structure in an arc. Only once you remove a key node holding this arc together, it will unfold and reach down to touch the moon. It’s ingenious stuff and really gives your mind a workout!
Other obstacles include volcanic lava planets that your nodes cannot touch, sticking planets that you can build a bridge too, and multiple moons you must reach. As well as moons you may be required to collect stars with your nodes on the way to the moon. Add all the elements together in the later levels, and things can get really mind-numbing.
Graphically the game is minimal in design, but don’t let that put you off. The physics at work really give life to those black nodes and coupled with relaxing music, the game can look and feel quite beautiful.
The controls work very well, and for those with fat fingers, you can zoom in on the action in order to more accurately place nodes. One gripe I do have with the game is the shake-to-pause function. It’s way too sensitive and can get frustrating when travelling on a bus or train when it pauses when you go over a small bump. A simple double tap for pause would be better.
Currently there are 40 levels to keep you occupied, but the developer promises not only more levels in an update, but also user generated levels too.
Presentation and graphics
From the screenshots it isn’t much of a looker, that is until you see it in motion.
Relaxing music sets the mood, and the sound of the nodes popping once you’ve reached the moon is very satisfying.
In incredibly simple gameplay mechanic that, coupled with great touch controls, urges you to play on even when things seem impossible. It really is a joy to play and incredibly addictive.
The 40 levels may seem short but for the price I think it’s good value. Most levels can be replayed to beat your score by using a lower quote of nodes. Add to this the promise of new levels and user generated content in the next update and you won’t be able to put this game down.
Don’t miss out on this gem of a game. It’s only $0.99… what are you waiting for, go get it now!