Moe is a story-driven 3D action-adventure game developed and published by TimeTravel_1.
The story in Moe is about a character who has lost his memories. It seems this character is a soldier in the middle of a war. Although the war is against giant monsters known as “Angels”, it’s very reminiscent of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Set in a modern world, or rather the ruins of a post-apocalyptic modern world. MOE or Meaning of Existence plays with a lot of heady topics such as good vs evil, nihilism, love, and war.
The setting and themes are also reminiscent of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, however with a focus on angelic enemies rather than a mix of demons, angels and other religious and mythological totems. Seeing that the developer’s first language does not appear to be English, (the voice acting sounds to be Russian or somewhere Eastern European), there are some occasional grammatical and spelling issues that muddle the story. I was never really disinterested in the story though, it was just difficult to follow at times.
Gameplay in MOE is a mixture of 3D platforming and hack ‘n’ slash adventure. Your character has a gun and a sword, the ability to jump and dive and a sprint/lock-on mechanism. This is just, to begin with, you will pick up more abilities as you progress. Holding the jump button down for a moment charges your jump, allowing you to reach greater heights like in The Hulk Ultimate Destruction. The dive gives you forward momentum to cover more ground. The sword is used for melee combat as might be expected. The gun is used for ranged combat, ammunition can be found but MOE also has an interesting mechanic in which fired bullets can return to you.
As you progress through the game you will also gain new abilities. The first of which is the ability to fire a bullet after a dive to extend your air time. Later you will gain abilities to summon platforms and the like.
MOE tasks you with objectives, mostly getting from point A to B or defeating a boss. As such the game is largely exploration-based, however with the very minimal map and the heavily stylized art, I found myself getting lost a lot.
The art style of MOE is quite interesting, a lot of neon colors, almost like an 80’s fever dream. The characters appear to be anthropomorphized animals (mostly cats). Mostly they are dressed in either an anime fantasy or military style. Certain abilities you use also invert the color scheme. The levels are filled with all sorts of broken ruins, steel girders and toppled buildings creating makeshift bridges. However, when you take the color scheme out, the game looks more like a mid-range PS2 game than a new PC title. With a lot of angular polygons jutting out and various graphical glitches. I found it fairly difficult to work out what I could stand on or not. Multiple times I found I was able to jump through an object from one angle but not from another.
The music in MOE is for the most part lo-fi relaxing beats. The music fits more with the visual style than the actual gameplay, but it sounds good. Sound effects are less interesting than the music, fairly stock standard. However, there is some satisfaction to be gained from the various collecting noises of picking up resources or opening chests. The dialogue in the game is as mentioned above entirely in Russian or somewhere nearby. It’s nice to have the characters voiced, even if I don’t know what they are saying. Overall the language barrier shouldn’t be a problem for most people that enjoy subbed anime, which the developers of MOE are clearly fans of.
MOE is a frustrating game, the controls take some getting used to. The level design is hard to navigate. Combat is not as fluid as I’d like if you’re not locked on to an enemy then hitting them with your sword is a real hassle. There was a multitude of graphical glitches. The game actually completely crashed a few minutes in and I had to replay a segment I’d just beaten. It was hard to tell if the dialogue was trying to be silly or serious. Sometimes the tone would just completely change back and forth in the same sequence.
But despite these facts, I couldn’t hate this game. There is a lot of imagination going on. The story when it’s sticking to a tone is genuinely interesting. The system where bullets are somewhat refunded to you is quite fun.
At the moment MOE seems like a game with a lot of potential that still needs a lot of work to fully realize it. The game is still in Early Access and has received updates so there is still a possibility it will go from somewhat interesting but mediocre to genuinely great.
Rating: 5/10 – Needs more work but it has a ton of potential.
Genre: 3D platformer, Action-RPG
Release Date: 23 Aug 2019