We are proud to present to you the effort of one man developing army, an old school…ish dungeon crawler RPG for Android – Moonshades. It is an ambitious project which will, at first glance, reminisce of the good old Might and Magic first-person role-play games in the golden age of PC gaming expansion, meaning the late ‘90s and the early ‘00s. If you hail from this period or you like these immersive adventures built for the fans of the games like Eye of the Beholder and Wizardry, but also gamers with a flair for DND, check this out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
DEVELOPMENT AND RECEPTION
This is a one-man project… a passion project…
To prove this game is an homage to Wizardry and Eye of the Beholder, the developer names these two titles as the main inspiration for developing it. This is a one-man project, although it is quite orderly and well sorted, which is a job for more than one guy for sure. This guy chose to remain nameless and only let his work speak for him, but he talks about the times he was a child and how DND and other tabletop adventure games made his heart racing. Moonshades looks like a completed game, but the developer is working on it constantly while having a full-time job outside of the gaming industry we might add. So, this is a passion project, and all help is welcomed.
Now, what first caught our eye about this game is that it is quite popular and well-received for a one-man developed indie title. On Google Play, Moonshades Android has a very high 4.7-star score out of almost 17k votes, at the time of this review. This is quite a lot even for a veteran company developed, fully branded and published game, let alone someone’s after-work project. People are mostly praising the format and the approach to the concept, which praises the classical experience in RPGs. As of February 2020, the game has over 100k installs.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ATMOSPHERE AND STORY
It takes us back into the magical times of the ‘90s and early ‘00s.
As with all good RPG adventures, the atmosphere is the key to creating an engaging experience, and Moonshades instantly takes us back into the magical times of the ‘90s and early ‘00s. The stage is set in Harten, a kingdom that has seen much better days, as it is now crawling with invaders from other realms, mostly demons and the undead. The invasion began under a red moon of Okrin, which is a god of chaos and destruction in the folklore. The people are facing extinction, while all heroes and their attempts to stop the invasion have thus far failed.
The survivors are hiding in the Greydawn mountain halls, which opens up the path to the east and the undiscovered lands. However, none of this will matter if the portals, through which the demon hordes are coming, remain open. In this dire hour of need, two strangers arrive amidst the people, our two characters. Their arrival is described as “two stars on the blood-red night sky” and they are said to hold special significance as even the demons give them a wide berth. However, it remains a mystery as to their true origin, while their (our) mission is to close the portals and repel the demon horde.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
UI is really clean and well-sorted…
The user interface, control scheme, and the basics of the game are pretty much based on those old RPG titles as well. UI is really clean and well sorted. We see the portraits of our two characters in the upper left and right corners. They share an inventory, and their equip interface is also on their respective sides. Everything is comprehensive and easy to understand. Even the items, skills, and spells are not over-clogged with information about damage, effects, and that sort of stuff. In this regard, one might say this game is adapted to the modern mobile gaming audience, and it somewhat speeds up what was otherwise endless hours of reading about skills and abilities in the old RPG games, especially tabletop.
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Combat is also along the lines of Might and Magic, Wizardry, Eye of the Beholder, and those old school RPG titles. You have your abilities displayed under the character portraits, with their health, mana, and experience pools beside. Each of the two characters can have eight abilities equipped, while a basic weapon attack is the first one. The abilities themselves are learned from special books and can be upgraded, while your attacks are stronger the stronger your weapon is. Gear also supplements your characters and their stats.
The stats are as follows:
There is also crafting in Moonshades and various other items that offer interesting things to do during your adventure. The quest and the info log interfaces are also very well organized, possibly the best we’ve ever seen. Both logs open a book, which is pretty standard for RPG adventure games, but Moonshades has it organized in a very comprehensive and clear way, so you don’t lose time searching for quests, objectives, and stuff you need.
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The essence of Moonshades RPG experience is best described by the developer in these lines:
- Mythic beasts
- Fantasy creatures
- Massive cryptic dungeons
- Action and story-telling
- Real-time combat
- Devastating, protective, or healing spells
- Crafty and deadly traps on every turn
- Labyrinths and puzzles requiring your full wits
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
It looks genuine and well applied…
Being an old school adventure game, it was only right to make Moonshades look like one also. With that said, it is not a pixel-art game, and the graphics are actually quite modern and smooth, but they also carry with them a whiff of classic RPG. Since this is a solo development project, which one man is building up from his pocket, the models are mostly from preset graphic packs, but still, they look genuine and well applied, which is all we can ask.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Moonshades is not a demanding game…
Given its down to earth mechanics and graphics, Moonshades is not a demanding game regarding tech compatibility. Even somewhat older Smartphone devices won’t have any troubles with running it as smoothly as any. Being an RPG adventure game, it also doesn’t take too much room and will work on any Smartphone with Android 4.4 or later.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
FREE TO PLAY FRIENDLY
The game is free and ad-free…
Moonshades is a game entirely kept free from microtransactions, ads, and any similar mechanics. The game is free and ad-free, and the developer wows that it will remain so. However, help is also welcomed from the players who want to support the development of this game and interested players can purchase in-game packages that are considered a donation and are used to further advance the development of this beautiful passion project.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Only top marks from the BMG Team…
Moonshades is a one-man developed, old school classic RPG project that has over 100k installs and a 4.7-star score on Google Play. Need we say more? As a rooster from an old cartoon says – figures never lie. This would be a high success even for a fully branded and team-developed and published title, let alone something someone is developing beside his full-time everyday job, outside of the gaming industry. Moonshades hits the bullseye of its clear and comprehensive target, which is to revive the old school classical RPG experience and bring it to modern audiences. Top marks!