(DSiWare)

Gaia's Moon (DSiWare)

Game Review

Gaia's Moon Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Patrick Elliot

Full of fun or made of cheese?

While many portable games praised for their accessibility and simple controls are often times associated with mobile game platforms, DSiWare is not without its own quality pick-up-and play titles. Games like Reflect Missile, Pop Plus: Solo and the Art Style series offer satisfyingly simple gameplay perfect for short bursts of gaming, and now, we can add Gaia’s Moon to that list.

Using only one button to control gameplay, your goal is to guide a boy named Atreyu across six automatically side-scrolling 2D stages. You guide Atreyu with just a single button — either X. Y, A or B — manoeuvring him to avoid all incoming obstacles. Pressing a button causes Atreyu to soar upward, while releasing it allows him to descend.

This simple mechanic delivers deceptively challenging gameplay, however, as Atreyu will carry momentum, causing him to float a bit upon release. This keeps you from stopping your vertical movements on a dime, tasking you instead with anticipating obstacles and ensuring that you do not overcompensate while dodging.

Levels are cleverly designed, teaching you repeated patterns only to tweak them slightly later on to fake you out. There is a good amount of memorisation needed as well, as you have only one life with which to complete the game. This means you may find yourself restarting from the beginning several times over, but with three levels of difficulty, you can start out easy to learn the levels and then bump up the challenge later on.

Enemies and obstacles each have different movements and patterns, with sharks that jump out of the water, eyeballs that stare in the direction they are about to attack and flying fish that lazily ebb and flow across the screen. The 2D presentation lends itself nicely to the side-scrolling design, and the music is quite catchy, with a simple, yet retro feel. The stylised level backgrounds also don't hurt, with layered clouds and a sunset sky that create a colourful world that's a joy to play through, even on your fifth attempt.

Once you complete the game you’ll enter another round, which sends you back though the game at a quickened pace. There’s no online component, but your own high scores are saved, allowing you and other nearby players to try to beat your best performance.

There's also an inventive two-player mode that allows both players to participate at the same time. Since gameplay revolves around only a single button, the second player can use the D-Pad to control a second character situated on the top screen. This can feel a bit cramped, but is still a welcome feature, even allowing you to test your dexterity and try your hands at controlling both characters at once.

Conclusion

At just 200 Nintendo Points, Gaia's Moon offers a short but sweet adventure that delivers charming 2D visuals, catchy tunes and simple, yet challenging gameplay. While the honeymoon won't last forever, you'll be left with a simple joy that can be hard to find.

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Game Trailer

User Comments (26)

sykotek

#1

sykotek said:

This one flew under my radar, but I dig the art style and it looks like a lot of fun too! :) Thanks for the informative review!

WolfRamHeart

#4

WolfRamHeart said:

I remember seeing the video for this on the eShop and thought that it looked pretty interesting. At only 200 points I am willing to give it a try. Thanks for your review Patrick.

FonistofCruxis

#8

FonistofCruxis said:

I might get this when it comes to Europe.
@Kyuubikid213 I think its safer to trust NL's reviews rather than the ones on the eshop. 3D classics: Urban champion has something like 4 and a half stars on the eshop.

Birdman

#9

Birdman said:

Saw a 1 Star rating for this on the eShop ... I may need IGN's review to fully determine whether or not this game is for me.

Flowerlark

#10

Flowerlark said:

Looks good but I've never been all that great at dodging obstacles, so I think I'll pass.

Nintendawg

#11

Nintendawg said:

Atreyu... heheh, I would watch "The Neverending Story" every single day back when I was a kid :)
I think I'll give this one a try.

bezerker99

#12

bezerker99 said:

How can this game have any sort of rating on the eShop considering it hasn't been released yet (it's still just a bit after 10am EST). D:

rjejr

#14

rjejr said:

So it's Jetpack Joyride or Sea Stars? I deleted Jetpack, too brown for me, but I've played Sea Stars for hours.

shinesprite

#15

shinesprite said:

"Pressing a button causes Atreyu to soar upward, while releasing it allows him to descend."

So It's like Game C in Baloon Fight?

Wilford111

#18

Wilford111 said:

I bought it just because it had one star and I wanted to know for myself.
Thankfully, I like it a lot! When I get around to it I'll give it a four star ranking. Only thing that's keeping it from being five is because there's no save option, and only one life. Plus, the end boss looks pretty crappy. Other than that it's an exceptional game.

LittleIrves

#20

LittleIrves said:

@rjejr Jetpack Joyride "too brown"? What does that mean, exactly?
This looks fairly worthwhile, actually. Color me surprised. Might hold onto the points for Sakura or Mudds, though. I've got enough 200 point pick-up-and-players I can go to in a pinch (Aura-Aura, 10 second run).

Squashie

#23

Squashie said:

Now that looks like my kinda thing, can't believe I hadn't noticed it before...

DemonnPrincess

#24

DemonnPrincess said:

It looks okay...how come the good games get rated all low and the games that aren't so bad but have no versatility get hecka high ratings???

Joygame51

#25

Joygame51 said:

I have this one... cute but it does not hold me for long. I find its a bit to fast when I'm tired out at night ...and a bit to kiddy for me to enjoy for long... I pick this one up and play when I'm tired of other things. Great for a few moments between appointments.

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