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Darsalon of the Moons is a wonderfully silly game about rescuing astronauts -By Fsk

Few players love the idea of ​​escort missions nowadays, but there was a time when developers built best-selling games around the task of escorting NPCs, from Lemmings to Abe’s Odyssey. Moons of Darsalon, now out on Steam after eight years of development, is an instantly enjoyable tribute to that kind of era. In this level-based 2D platformer from Spanish developer Dr. Cucho, you take on the role of an astronaut who is sent to rescue a group of other astronauts from a collection of small but very intense alien planets, guiding them by simple “follow A base is moved by using “m” or “go”. here” command.

Your other equipment includes a flashlight for underground exploration, a laser rifle that can be used to tunnel through certain materials, and a clay cannon that lets you blob together bridges, a la Pre 2017 glue gun. Some levels have gates that require a certain number of astronauts to unlock, and usually one or two are hidden inside a hill or similar, delivered by a plaintive speech bubble as you pass through. goes.

Darsalon’s moons aren’t quite as unbalanced as Noita’s, but it’s not far behind.

It is a mix of retro style. The CRT overlays and fidgety, layered backdrops are pure 16-bit side-scroller, while the chintzy 3D spaceships look like Netscape loading icons upgraded to UFOs. In the hands, it feels like a great Flash game from the late newbie, with a surprisingly in-depth physics system and a level editor waiting in the wings. But the tapering, floppy characters and bobbly, Happy Meal terrain evoke Earthworm Jim too – as does the game’s sense of humor, which consists of partly meta jokes like going home for “pizza and the PS4”, but most things are very gets spoiled.

Moons of Darsalon is that very special kind of ambiguity that often leads to hilarious accidents, while rewarding finesse. It’s both a high score chaser – you’ll get bonus points for beating the clock, or avoiding damage – and a post-pub exercise in messing around with 2D physics. The equipment is a little too big for his shoes. The laser rifle spews bolts everywhere, which is handy when you’re battling hordes of alien soldiers, but less so when you’re tunneling through a wall with a fragile castaway on the other side. The jetpack boosts you up and takes you out a little too fast, slamming your head into the overhang or plunging you into deadfall, inches from a safe landing.

Teleporters activate when anything passes over them, whether it’s you, the wrecked rocketship you’re fighting, or friendly spacemen caught in the crossfire. And that’s just stuff from the seven-level Steam demo: In depth, you’ll get to fly gunships and drive multi-wheel rovers that I do now. Know I’m going to turn around at the first opportunity.

A screenshot of Moons of Darsalon, a 2D platform game about rescuing lost astronauts, showing the player flying on a jetpack

A screenshot from Moons of Darsalon, a 2D platform game about rescuing lost astronauts, showing the player building a rudimentary bridge with an earth-layer gun

It’s not as blatantly disjointed as Noita, but it’s not far behind, and unlike Noita, it’s about keeping other people alive, so unplanned knock-on effects have dire consequences. It’s both helpful and unhelpful that the lost souls you’re collecting have a healthy sense of self-preservation. They won’t run through pitch-dark areas – you’ll need to illuminate the path with your flashlight. They won’t jump down from dangerously high ledges, either—you’ll have to push a crate into position, or weave a ledge with a clay cannon. They’ll laugh at you when you hurt yourself, moan about needing to shower from time to time, and question your sense of direction. A word of advice, just between you, me and the high score table: you don’t have to save them all,