Santa Ragione devs are well known up to date because of the modest success of the brilliant Fotonica (reviewed right here). They made a name of themselves by creating super stylized videogames like Fotonica, and this one I have the extremely weird pleasure to experience.
Now, when I change the verb ‘play’ for the verb ‘experience’, I’m doing a philosophical questioning about the ludic part of a ‘Game’. All games are meant to be experienced. Some of them only give us that sole part of what a videogame should propose. Experience, fun, engagement. MirrorMoon EP is one of those games that fuck our senses, but is hard to say that they are ‘entertaining’.
You start your journey in some kind of stationary ship. Push a few buttons, press some keys, lift some knobs, and put a cartridge in a deck. And then, the lights turn on, and you begin your ride through the planet named “SIDE A”, that works as a tutorial planet (tutorial of what? There’s no goddamn clue, and that is somewhat appealing). In a FPS style, your ship has a weapon that does nothing and has a 3D triangle that flips with mouse movement because whatever.
When your patience is starting to die battered by the solitude, the soft music (always great), and the strange controls, something happens. Did that moon moved? Apparently, the red moon over you moves as you move the mouse. Shit! What the fuck!?
MirrorMoon EP is an space exploring experience. Your objective is finding something in the galaxy that is monstrous. Vast. You can even name a planet if you are the one who finds it. Genius stuff. At a certain level it reminds me a lot of games, old and new. ‘Another World’ for the feels. The recent reviewed Grav.
Your goal in the game is exploring in a almost never-ending space. It’s almost your decision whether to be entertained in a “2001: Space Odyssey” environment with almost the same amount of dialog, story development or background to be seized. I did have fun, but damn, I tried hard.
These guys are good. They probably work in an advertisement company. I can almost see a regular Don Draper walking around or taking a nap after a fine Old Fashioned down the throat. Santa Ragione puts a lot of effort on making their games a super visual experience. And that doesn’t mean huge budget on graphic engines like Unreal, CryEngine or Unity PRO. It means versatility. It means new grounds and discover how to be impressive surging from the indie world where everything is pretty much discovered or on the way of discovering.
The minimalism of detail (detail where is needed), the geometric approach of things, divided in figures. The palette they used for everything is so European, so sophisticated that trespasses the frontier of the screen and makes your room the space. I suggest firmly playing MirrorMoon EP with the lights out and a good pair of headphones or big speakers. The music and the sound aren’t so present like in Fotonica, but they make the experience (because is what it is), so much elegant that if the controls weren’t a bit hard, we would be talking about a game of the year.
MirrorMoon EP is a fairly cheap game (around 5 US$), wide, strange, and by moments, freeing and suffocating at the same time. I strongly recommend all of you to give it a try, maybe you won’t enjoy it, but you will never say that is a bad game.