Metroidvania games have been around for decades, and they can be a bit formulaic. Exploring a huge 2D map, battling multiple bosses, and finding new gear is all “Metroidvania”. “Rusted Moss” doesn’t stray from the genre or bring in any truly revolutionary new mechanics – but when a game is this addictive, there’s no need to.
- Developer: faxdoc, happysquared
- Publisher: PLAYISM
- Release Date: April 12, 2023
The world of “Rusted Moss” is a bizarre mix of classic post-apocalyptic hypochondria and the superstitious beauty of British fairy tale folklore. After another man-made “end of the world”, cities lie in ruins and people survive as best they can. Fairies reappear from their mounds, from under the hills, from the forest thickets. To pamper, bully and play with people like toys – carefree and ruthless.
And no, these are not romantic miniature fairies with golden curls and silver wings, but real faeries from folk art. Sometimes cheerful and friendly, sometimes treacherous and vengeful, frightening and deadly. Blobs of primordial chaos in colorful wrappings, busy dancing, making music, feasting, killing. Rascals, knaves, deceivers, reveling in human stupidity and weakness.
Of course, humans are not about to surrender to their mercy. Using the body parts of the defeated fairy queen Titania, they extinguish fire with fire, crush magic with magic.
The heroine, the girl Fern, is also a fairy. 16 years ago, she was placed in a human cradle to grow up among humans, learn all their secrets, and then betray them. And the plan worked perfectly. Now she and her partner, the forest spirit Puck, have only to finish the job: to find the shards of the broken queen and put them together…
But let’s not reveal the story and talk about the gameplay features of the game.
The gameplay consists of two main parts: jumping with the use of elastic rope-hook and destroying enemies with the help of an arsenal of six different weapons. The mechanics of how the rope works are very easy to understand, because it’s actually just a rubber band that we attach to any surface covered with moss, but mastering these simple mechanics takes a lot of time. The game gradually throws up more and more complex tasks that require better and better skills in wielding this tool. Among other things, the game is full of optional challenges that can take hours to complete while learning how to skillfully wield the rope. The game becomes much more interesting when combat elements and platforming are merged together, creating non-trivial tasks that require the player to use rope and weapons at the same time. The latter can affect the character’s behavior in the air: shotgun and sniper rifle have a strong recoil, and rocket launcher will allow you to make high jumps by shooting under your feet. Despite the seemingly meager arsenal of skills, many obstacles can be overcome by different methods.
Rusted Moss lives up to its genre as a metroidvania. Here you can get stuck for a long time exploring optional locations, in return the game generously rewards such curiosity with all sorts of improvements and modifiers. Moreover, the game allows you to skip most of the bosses and rush straight to the finale, but passing the last location will be a huge challenge for those who decided to ignore all the improvements.
Rusted Moss may seem like an unsightly pixel game, if you judge it only by screenshots. The whole beauty of the game is in the animations: each location feels alive due to the large amount of grass and flowers swaying in the wind, birds and small animals scurrying back and forth. Other enemies are a pleasure to watch, in particular, giant spiders, which move correctly, moving one limb after another, attaching their long legs to the walls and ceiling.
Most locations have a pleasant color palette, well conveying the mood of the area.
The compositions playing on the locations are unobtrusive and quite pleasant, but there is nothing extraordinary in them. But the part of the game’s soundtrack related to bosses is surprisingly well done. The game even spoils a couple of orchestral compositions in special fights.
In our opinion, the story is the weakest part of the game. It is good enough to keep the player from getting bored as the game progresses and to motivate him to continue his journey, but it doesn’t evoke any special emotions. The story of Rusted Moss can be forgotten as soon as it’s over.
First and foremost, Rusted Moss is an addictive platformer that will be fun to spend a few hours learning how to interact with the local physics. You’ll have to overcome obstacles in the eye-pleasing scenery with a good soundtrack. I recommend to fans of indie-platformers and metroidvania to get acquainted with it.
- Quality platforming based on physics
- Nice shooting
- Good animations and good pixel art
- Interesting challenges to improve your skills
- A faded plot that doesn’t generate much interest