The Sun and Moon (Xbox One) Review

By Gabriel Jones 27.01.2017

Review for The Sun and Moon on Xbox One

It's like the great philosopher Plato always said, "We're all just nondescript circular thingamabobs trying to find the wormhole." The Sun and Moon is a precision platformer by Daniel Linssen. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, it essentially means that this is a very demanding game, where every movement matters. It'll take catlike reflexes and perfect execution just to overcome seemingly insurmountable tasks. The patience of a Taoist monk couldn't hurt, either.

This game was originally conceived on April 2014, for Ludum Dare, a videogame development competition held three times a year. Participants are given about forty-eight hours to develop a game based on a particular theme. In the case of Ludum Dare #29, the theme was "beneath the surface," which certainly applies to The Sun and Moon. The player is required to dive deep into the ground to solve over 150 levels of increasingly improbable platforming action. Be well aware, this title will do everything it can to dig into what lies "beneath the surface" of its players.

To put it bluntly, this is a game that will induce rage. The goal of each level is simple enough: find the orbs and enter the wormhole. It takes mere seconds to get accustomed to moving around and jumping. Everything becomes several times more complicated when the diving mechanic is introduced. Basically, the player can dive beneath the ground, using their momentum to push themselves as deep as possible. The maximum depth is determined by how far they fall before reaching the floor. Upon reaching that point, the momentum reverses, launching the player out of the ground and into the air. Needless to say, it's going to take some time to come to grips with all of the intricacies of this system.

How can something like this make anyone angry? Well, just imagine Super Monkey Ball. That's a game where goofy monkeys roll around in hamster balls and grab bananas. No way could that drive a person to throw furniture and cuss out their family… Oh. The Sun and Moon shows no quarter. It's extremely easy to fall off the map, fly into spikes, or get roasted by fireballs. It's also possible to misjudge dives, dig too deep, and pop out the other side into a pit. Unlike a number of games, the player has to actually touch the orb in order to obtain it, there are no close calls. There aren't any close calls when it comes to sharp objects either. The slightest contact with a spike guarantees a death. Every move has to be exact.

Screenshot for The Sun and Moon on Xbox One

Even though most stages can be completed in less than twenty seconds, they're actually going to take much longer than that, due to the massive amount of retries. Success isn't entirely dependent on reflexes either. Levels tend to have a solution, and sussing it out is left entirely to the player. There are ten different systems filled with levels, and they each have their own traps and gimmicks. Some of the more inspired ones involve holding the dive button to create walls out of thin air, or make them disappear. If whoever is holding the controller can't grasp the basics of diving, they're going to have a really bad time when the intensity and complexity is ratcheted up tenfold.

There is, however, a certain thrill that comes from being subjected to constant failure. Perhaps it's a trifle masochistic, but the pain is what makes it rewarding. The high stakes are what keep it interesting. If there wasn't a constant threat of falling into the void or colliding with a trap, then it wouldn't be nearly as exciting. If the player reaches the end of a level, but misses the wormhole by a femtometre, they're just going to keep trying until they get it right. Even in these worst-case scenarios, they've only lost a minute. This game has the good sense to never take control away from the player for more than a second. They're always going to be engaged.

It also helps that The Sun and Moon is remarkably designed. There will be levels that drive the player to hysterics, but only in a manner that can be considered fair. Cheap deaths, bugs, or other possible occurrences that could result in unnecessary frustration won't be found here. The small objects and sometimes garish colour schemes can be a little annoying, though. The music is pleasant and continually expands as one progresses through the game, much like the second to last boss battle in Final Fantasy VI.

Screenshot for The Sun and Moon on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Make no mistake, The Sun and Moon is not to be taken lightly. It's a very difficult game, and achieving the best possible times will take a lot out of even the most hardened veterans. The method for unlocking levels is open-ended, so players should never feel like they have to repeatedly headbutt the same brick wall until progress is made. There's a sense of satisfaction that comes from just beating a level, which can't easily be found elsewhere. In conclusion, anyone seeking a serious test of wills should seek this platformer out.

Developer

Daniel Linssen

Publisher

Digerati Distribution

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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