Update: The game’s Kickstarter has now launched.
Yeah, it’s a Terrariabut in which you explore, dig, build and fight monsters in a procedural landscape. Yeah, it’s seeking crowdfunding with a Kickstarter project due to launch later this week. But Moonman overcame my immediate dismissal because its main character is cute and can wear masks, because there’s obviously a lot of game here already after three-years of development, and because the TIGSource development log is a whopping and detailed 140pages long. Come watch the trailer.
The developer isn’t shy about the obvious comparisons, namechecking “Terraria, Spelunky, Minecraft, Binding of Isaac, Knytt Stories”. Unlike many of those games, your exploration does have an explicit goal: you’re hunting for fragments of the many moons that orbit your planet in order to build a sun, presumably in order to bring some light to your world of permanent night. The planet you’re exploring is of course procedurally generated, but I like the look some of the “flora, fauna and flauna” that inhabits each blocky, destructible world.
Still, it’s not entirely clear how it differentiates itself mechanically from games like Terraria or Starbound. The TIGSource thread is a font of technical detail about the development of the game, charting the creation of its physics, its art, its world gen, everything, but after hopping through page after page I couldn’t tell you why the combat and crafting are any better here than elsewhere.
Of course, it’s not clear that it needs to be any different – my near dismissal aside. There is a teenager right now, representing hundreds of thousands of similar people, trying Half-Life for the first time. ‘I hear this is pretty great,’ they say, ‘But it seems lame to me. You can’t even destroy the walls?’ Or maybe they’re playing Planescape: Torment? ‘lol u cant even dig.’ Everything you love and which served to bond you with your friends now exists solely to place a void between you and a younger, cooler generation whose knees don’t yet crack when they stand up.
And isn’t that great! It is only right and just that games make fogeys of us all, because it’s the only way to know that they’re progressing. Can you imagine your parents liking the same music you liked when you were twelve-years-old? We must all eventually retire with our vinyl re-releases and our reunion tours and our BBC Four documentaries and let the young get on with being foolish and attractive.
‘This just sounds like all the other bands you like,’ you say, tutting.
Not me, though. I’m still hip.