Monochromatic color schemes and hair-pulling challenge were hallmarks of titles on the original Game Boy handheld, and few titles capture that vibe like Moonflight [official site] by Lachlan Cartland and Joshua Hurd. It’s a short but pretty sweet side-scrolling shooter that I really dug the artwork for, especially since I know how difficult spriting can be. I would know, because I edited my own Sailor Moon sprites when I was younger.In Moonflight you’ll play a cute witch in her quest to endlessly move right. More specifically you play as Bel, a witch who’s zooming through the sky on her broom to hang out with her girlfriend, but that’s not really explicitly communicated too much in-game. Unfortunately for Bel, as it always happens when you’re swiggity-swooty-coming-for-that-booty, bats and other annoying monsters tend to get in the way. Floating skulls and angry Jack-o-Lanterns attempt to block your flight, and their appearance increases in frequency the longer you stay alive. Kill ’em all, and let the Supreme (sneaky American Horror Story reference?) sort ’em out. That’s the name of the game.
There’s really not much to do in Moonflight, but I’m more impressed by the way it looks than what there is to do. There’s a simple joy to retro-inspired art that calls back to some of my favorite anime series, and that’s what I get from this little gem. In some ways, it’s reminiscent of the game-within-a-game you might see back in games like Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon R, back on the Game Boy. There was a Sailor V mini game where you’d just clear out all the stages just like the game Usagi played in the anime, and for some reason I really got that vibe from this game.
The control scheme and endless movement make this a very serviceable shooter that could easily be a paid Game Boy or phone game. It’s only available for Windows just now though, via Itch. You can download it now here and name your own price, if you’re so inclined.