A Lunatic Notion: The Moon Sliver

By Adam Smith on June 9th, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

I fear a future in which all horror games consist of rooms randomly jumbled together, with the occasional ghost or scary face hiding in the shadows. The Hat Man: Shadow Ward, which recently popped up on Steam, seems like a prime example of the type – take an urban legend, drop it into a dingy spaghetti junction of criss-crossing corridors, and wait for somebody to provide a soundtrack of screams and yelps on Youtube. I’m drawn to The Moon Sliver precisely because it isn’t built around that formula. It’s a first-person exploration-based game, with a narrative that emerges in fragments as the player interacts with objects and wanders through the world.

It’s not the sharpest look but the grainy low-fi style could work in the game’s favour.

You are on an island, cold and bleak and windy. You are alone, yet fires and candles still burn in dwellings that seem to have been recently occupied. What happened to the people that lived here? As you freely explore, piecing together the fragmented memories you find, a tale of guilt, loneliness, uncertainty, and hope begins to take shape. And it becomes increasingly evident that something is hunting you…

The game is available via Itch.io and Desura, and is seeking Greenlight votes.

Cheap as chips, the game will only set you back £1.99. That’s actually cheaper than the chips at the Harry Ramsden’s down the road. There’s no demo but developer Jefequeso’s previous game, Fingerbones, is available to play for free in your browser. It’s similar in style and I’m of far too nervous a disposition to play beyond the five minute mark, when a whimpering child can be heard.

Tough as nails, I am.

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25 Comments »

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  1. SillyWizard says:

    What the hell is a “The Hatman?”

    • GameCat says:

      Compulsive Team Fortress 2 player.

    • SillyWizard says:

      *45 seconds of googling later*

      Oh. I saw a shadow people once. It turned out to be one of my dad’s shirts draped over the back of a chair.

    • Geebs says:

      Hatters gonna hat…

      Lol that joke was one in a milliner

  2. Octuplex says:

    I like the idea, but there are a few things that put me off. the trailer was in a 4×3 and it looks very, very rough (very few objects and textures reused to a ridiculous degree. pretty sure in some of the areas the walls, floors, and ceilings were all the same texture.). I realize that everyone needs to start somewhere, but I have trouble seeing the game being mechanically stable if the graphics are that unpolished. I’ll wait for some reviews to come out before I consider investing.

  3. RoadWarrior says:

    Are you seriously comparing a professionally done game to this? I have a feeling you have a tie to the creator or you could not possibly be so blind. This game looks like a weak high school project. Why would you fear professionally done games with lots of replay value over a baked in, lo-res amateur effort? You are doing a disservice to whoever made this game by exposing it. It is like putting your little brother on tv and having him sing. It is not ready yet. This is the kind of mediocre filler that makes it hard for good games to get found. At least you did mention a good game. Thanks for that.

    • Gilead says:

      Well, I’ve now watched the trailers for both The Moon Silver and The Hat Man: Shadow Ward, and while I believe the term ‘mediocre filler’ could be applied to one of them, I’m not convinced we’d agree on which one.

      • RoadWarrior says:

        That trailer is 6 months old. Go on YouTube and look for recent gameplay videos. And, btw, even the trailer showed real people playing the game. There was action. This video is just “Look. A tree. And grass.” The game in the video looks like a low detail version of “Lost” without the people. And why am I the only one who knows the actual name of the game. It’s Sliver, not Silver.

        • Gilead says:

          Hey, you’re right, it is Sliver. Weirdly I had originally typed it as that, and then went back and edited my post because I convinced myself it was wrong. ‘The Moon Silver’ just seems more…poetic? The game itself reminds me of Dear Esther with a bit of Myst and Kairo thrown in. Could be a good little game with more time, and it’s not like it’s a full-price title.

          I’ve just looked at some more up-to-date footage of The Hat Man, and it looks…okay? I mean, it still seems derivative of the whole Slenderman thing, which is a meme that I thought had played out ages ago, but I suppose if it’s a whole genre now there’s room for this sort of thing. There’s not really that much in common with The Moon Sliver at all, they’re entirely different kinds of game.

          • RoadWarrior says:

            What is funny is that Slender was not even the first to make such a game. The genre is horror survival. It typically includes no weapons, scary things making you jump, and a storyline that evolves through notes spread around. In a way it is also just an RPG with no weapons. Somehow the FPS evolved into a genre as opposed to everything just being labeled a Castle Wolfenstein clone. People need to evolve on their view of survival horror as well. But the 3-seconds of thought experts will continue to swear they are all slightly different clones. Obviously not understand the meaning of the word clone.

    • jefequeso says:

      That makes me sad :(

      On an unrelated note, many thanks to Rock Paper Shotgun for this article. The Greenlight page has been gradually dying, and hopefully this will help to boost it back up again.

      • RoadWarrior says:

        Let’s start at the beginning. Is what you made a game? It looks like it. That is a big deal. Take it. Now are the graphics bland? Yes. Take that as a call to action – You need better graphics. Can you find someone to work with to make them better? If you can, go that route. If you can’t, get better at making graphics. You are the guy who is surrounded by friends who say you are doing great who accidentally ends up on the “X-Factor”. Do not settle for mediocrity. Mediocrity is overrated. Be great. Do great. Don’t be mediocre and hope everyone is nice about it. And don’t be sad, be mad. Use that to go do it. Show the world what you can do. And do not settle.

        • jefequeso says:

          Well, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. I am very happy with how the visuals turned out, and think they fit very well with the story and atmosphere of the game. And that’s all I care about. Graphical fidelity, like mediocrity, is overrated.

          • RoadWarrior says:

            If you are going to make a friends and family game, I totally agree. But there is a difference between an after school project and a professional game. Having the floor, walls and ceiling all use the same texture was amateur in the mid-90s. Visually bland is not a style choice. If you are happy with it, fine. But do not wonder why it is not selling and why it is not getting approval on Steam. It is obvious.

          • jefequeso says:

            Actually, considering The Moon Sliver has been entirely self-marketed, is a decidedly niche title, is from an unknown developer, and has had relatively little exposure, it’s sold quite well so far, and has gotten mostly very positive feedback from players and reviewers. In fact, the majority of negative feedback has come from people such as yourself that haven’t even played the game. Also, while the Greenlight page has been gradually slowing down as the game ceased to be shown in the “recent submissions” part of the Greenlight home page, it’s 66% of the way to the top 100, with 3,408 yes votes at the time of this post.

          • RoadWarrior says:

            If you are doing well with this, more power to you. There is no arguing with success.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          Jesus, man, there’s more to life than cutting-edge visuals. Do you also think that blockbuster action flicks are by definition superior to quiet dramas? Moon Sliver’s graphics aren’t stunning, but they’re plenty good enough.

    • bowlingotter says:

      Holy hell, The Hat Man: Shadow Ward described as a “professionally-done game with lots of replay value.” I enjoyed the game, but only for what it is (another note-collecting, watch-out-for-the-monster indie horror game), and there’s absolutely no good reason to play it again.

      I’ve played both these games and I’d take The Moon Sliver over the former any day of the week. Opinions are opinions, of course, but there’s far more to games than visuals, and thank god for that.

  4. CookPassBabtridge says:

    A game in which you explore an island and are haunted by the final moments of a short, dead looking man with a maniacal grin.

    “Dear Fester”.
    Available everywhere, Winter 2014.

  5. The Random One says:

    I’m not surprised to learn The Hat Man: Shadow Ward has procedurally generated levels, since it clearly has a procedurally generated title.

  6. Shooop says:

    Going for a walk simulators taken to a new level of amateurishness and hipster appeal – now sans any voiceovers!

    • jefequeso says:

      Well, at least I’m setting some sort of bar :P

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Wow, the “stop liking what I don’t like” crowd is out in force today.