Modern indie game designers often use the term “deconstruction” to showcase their cleverness in subverting tropes. However, their vision lacks passion and they often misunderstand the true meaning of deconstruction.
Back in 1997, there was a growing trend of analyzing RPGs in a more critical manner. Final Fantasy VII, a highly acclaimed RPG at the time, challenged many established norms of the genre. Its main character was not the typical hero who was eager to save the world, and the supporting cast consisted of a group of outcasts and environmental activists. This was a revolutionary concept during that era.
Moon: Remix RPG Adventure, released in the same year, pushed the boundaries of subverting RPG tropes to an unprecedented level. It defied all conventional tropes to such an extent that it ceased to be an RPG and transformed into a distinct entity. After over twenty years, the game was finally available in English for western audiences to experience.
Moon: Remix RPG Adventure Developer: Love-di-Lic (PlayStation), Onion Games (Nintendo Switch) Publisher: ASCII Entertainment (PlayStation), Onion Games (Nintendo Switch) Platforms: PlayStation, Nintendo Switch (reviewed) Release Date: October 16, 1997 (PlayStation), August 27, 2020 (Nintendo Switch) Players: 1 Price: $18.99
Moon: Remix RPG Adventure is a mysterious journey that breaks away from the typical RPG conventions that were prevalent in the 90s. Love-di-Lic, the developers behind the game, were former Squaresoft employees who had extensive knowledge of RPGs.
The introduction of the game involves users playing a satirical version of Moon, known as a game within a game. This version exaggerates the typical RPG clichés, making them very obvious to the player. The protagonist even skips the overly complicated and verbose plot to jump straight into the action. This effectively introduces the common stereotypes associated with RPGs as we know them.
As the young boy immerses himself in his make-believe game of Moon, he is quickly drawn into its world. This marks the start of Moon: Remix RPG Adventure, where his mission to promote love and aid those in need commences.
Being transported into a video game world like Captain N does not automatically make the protagonist the hero. In fact, the true hero is a distinct character who is portrayed as a terrifying and unstoppable force.
The protagonist in this RPG embodies the typical player behavior of looting and slaughtering to gain strength. The inhabitants of Love-De-Gard are now vulnerable to his actions, and it is up to the player to rectify the harm caused by the hero.
The main character is a young boy who finds himself transported to the world of Moon. However, upon arrival, he loses his physical body and becomes a nameless entity. To distinguish himself, he dons a night cap, vest, oversized boots, and comical gloves resembling those of Mickey Mouse.
Moon: Remix RPG Adventure may have RPG in its title, but it is not actually an RPG. The game does not involve building stats, combat, or recruiting party members, with the only focus being on the boy’s “love level.” Players who have experience with Chulip may find the gameplay familiar.
Moon: Remix RPG Adventure is an adventure game that offers players an open-ended experience. The game’s progress is not strictly linear, allowing players to explore the island and assist its inhabitants at their own pace. The main goal is to aid others in achieving their aspirations and to provide peace for the souls of those who perished at the hands of the protagonist.
As a digital-only game, there is no manual and no hand-holding provided. This may pose a challenge as it harkens back to a time when it was customary for players to thoroughly read the instructions.
The game lacks important information that can be helpful to players. One such detail is that love-power decreases gradually as you explore the game world, and once it’s depleted, the game ends. Additionally, the boy’s need to rest in a bed, which also serves as a progress-saving feature, is vital to making progress in the game.
Earning love points by fulfilling people’s wishes is the key to leveling up love-power. With increased love-power, the boy can venture further into Love-De-Gard to assist others. However, this task is not a simple one as everyone, including animals, follows a routine that is dictated by the day and night cycle.
Moon: Remix RPG Adventure was a game ahead of its time in several aspects. It was able to surpass Shenmue by valuing the player’s time. The game’s time system was designed to move quickly, allowing the boy to stay up as late as he wants as long as he has enough love-power. Additionally, he can advance time by taking a nap.
Solving the puzzle of spreading love and rescuing the souls of deceased monsters is seldom a simple task. Numerous objectives require deciphering enigmatic solutions that only become clear with careful consideration. However, one of the most enchanting features of Moon: Remix RPG Adventure is the satisfaction of discovering these solutions on your own.
The game invites you to explore a cozy and peculiar world, where information is readily available. Engage with characters and share your collection of items to unlock new dialogue, ensuring a constantly refreshing experience. The charming and cuddly atmosphere adds to the game’s allure.
Extensive efforts were made to ensure that the world and its characters had an organic feel, rather than appearing like programmed machines. The result is a highly convincing illusion, achieved through the seamless integration of various components.
Spreading love is not always a sure thing, even if you have the perfect person and item. Some characters may require you to engage in a mini-game or test your perception. These challenges can be challenging, and the solutions are randomized, making the experience feel very authentic.
Adventure games often require players to make leaps of logic, and Moon: Remix RPG Adventure is no exception. However, unlike other games, it doesn’t require players to achieve 100% completion. These cryptic moments actually enhance the game’s personality and charm, making it more memorable.
Moon: Remix RPG Adventure boasts an incredibly imaginative and artistic aesthetic. The game seamlessly blends a variety of styles, including claymation, illustration, pixel art, and 90s-era prerendered CG, resulting in a captivating and nostalgic experience.
The ambiance exudes a complex blend of sentiments. A soothing and delightful vibe fills every corner and persona. The fusion of visuals is surreal yet organic, creating a dreamy atmosphere.
The boy encounters a diverse range of characters, each meticulously crafted with intricate animations and distinct frames. The attention to detail in their expressions and perspectives is a level of dedication that is seldom seen in modern games.
The imagery in this game bears a striking resemblance to that of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, which is no coincidence as it shares many of the same creative minds. The environments often exude a charming, toy-like quality that seamlessly blends elements of fantasy and everyday life.
The inviting ambiance created by the warm colors and skillful use of chiaroscuro lighting in every scene makes it difficult to bid farewell to the setting. The bittersweet conclusion is enhanced by a clever fourth wall break, adding a playful touch to the finale.
The more you discover on your own, the more fulfilling the experience of Moon becomes. The thrill of exploration and immersion is a significant source of enjoyment. While it may be tempting to consult an FAQ, doing so detracts from the essence of the game.
Moon takes a unique approach to its music, deviating from the norm. Instead of a traditional soundtrack, the film relies heavily on sound effects and ambient noise to create a realistic atmosphere. The distant chirping of birds and the soft crunch of soil under the protagonist’s feet establish a strong connection to nature.
Moon: Remix RPG Adventure features entirely diagetic music. The main character obtains a music player early on in the game and has the ability to purchase and discover a variety of music disc singles. The game boasts an eclectic mix of musical styles from various artists, resulting in a unique blend of beats and rhythms that cannot be easily categorized.
The distinct audio of exclusive Japanese PlayStation games resonates with nostalgia. The collection of obscure, elusive sounds triggers a sense of familiarity that is difficult to pinpoint. The pursuit of acquiring all the game discs to experience the complete auditory journey becomes a game within a game. The boy curates his own playlist, utilizing the shoulder buttons to switch tracks and adjust the volume to his liking.
Demonstrating your familiarity with the soundtrack of the game is a challenging aspect of the love-quest. The questions and music are generated randomly, making it impossible to cheat. The only path to triumph is to acquire a deep understanding of Moon’s soundtrack.
Moon: Remix RPG Adventure is a game that may not appeal to everyone due to its highly esoteric nature. However, it successfully achieves the designer’s vision with its unconventional and quirky design. The game’s deliberate and confident approach is evident in every aspect. Although it may not fit the traditional RPG mold, it is nearly as lengthy as one.
Moon’s writing is rarely cynical and has a distinctive voice that feels genuine. Despite being a late localization, the team responsible for it did their research and went to great lengths to give the writing a mid-90s RPG feel.
The game Moon: Remix RPG Adventure is a clear masterpiece that explores the classic RPG conventions found in popular franchises like Dragon Quest. It offers an exciting adventure that evokes a strong sense of nostalgia for those who grew up playing similar RPGs.