Indie games are currently thriving in the current economic turmoil, with gamers unwilling to pay $60 for a game when there are so many great games available for $5 or less; Moon Rising is one of those games.
In a dystopian future, centuries of neglect have drained all available resources from earth. Now, power-hungry nations have taken to the heavens, to battle over Helium-3 supplies on the moon.
Originally designed on a 2D game board in real life, with chess pieces representing units and slips of paper representing health and other attributes, the game has come a long way since that initial start. The game currently looks like something NASA might have released in 1990 or earlier, using terrible CGI to represent what a possible moon base could look like. Small details, like the “NASA” white used for units, and the way the camera gets noise during a unit movement animation really recall those days when regular space travel by 2012 seemed bound to happen.
Gameplay consists of turn-based orders to buildings and units. Available both in a live mode, where a timer counts down the remainder of time for the turn, and an asynchronous mode, where Moon Rising sends an email to you when it is your turn. The game is not very fast paced, but all the elements required for a strategy game are in place, and once I get the hang of it, I’m sure I’ll be playing a few asynchronous games here and there, taking two minutes out of work to complete my turn. I really appreciate the inclusion of a hotseat mode where the same computer can be used by two players who switch off. Every turn-based game should have this, in my opinion.
The beta is entirely free to play, and can be found here.