Greetings readers! MOON. (that period is a part of the name) just happens to be the only visual novel I’ve read that was released before 2000. Why did I point that out? MOON. happens to represent the ’90′s style of doing things quite well, for starters. Another neat thing about it is that it’s by what many call Proto-Key (the company that staffed the guys who did Kanon, Air, Clannad, etc, all novels I haven’t finished due to their massive lengths). However, unlike classic Key storytelling, MOON. is quite different. So different, in fact, it’s hard to believe MOON.’s from the same group.
Plot information? In my opening?
The plot of MOON. involves girls being picked up for a secret organization for… some nefarious purpose. And that’s all I can say without spoiling it. In all honesty, MOON.’s plot is not very ambitious. There is a clear plot structure, but it doesn’t try anything new. The game’s main theme isn’t all that original, though its execution, while solid, is just that. While there was a decent amount of tension, suspense, and the like, much of that dissipates way too quickly as the plot proceeds. I also feel as if the plot didn’t help you build up much emotional investment in it. As a result, the plot is somewhat uninvolving and underwhelming. That being said, I did like how the game revealed the main character’s past, though the contents of the main character’s past felt rather dissonant. The game is also rather infamous for a certain mindscrew segment near the end, but I felt that segment, as cool as it was, felt too removed from the overall structure of the plot.
Now, I don’t want to say the art is bad because it’s old, but the art is still rather bad. Art’s extremely simplistic. We’re talking worse than Umineko here. Like most artstyles from the ’90′s, at least the art here has multiple color tones. The music in MOON. is actually pretty decent. While nothing about it is all too memorable, I remember everything fitting well enough.
The game’s narrative is nothing special. It reads rather normally, and it describes events well enough. No complaints, though nothing stands out. What does stand out is that MOON. uses a grid navigation system. This makes it seem like MOON. is more of an adventure game from the ’90′s, and boy is it ever. Most of the decisions you make in the game do come from the navigation system, and all but one or two of the bad ends result in poor navigational decisions. The problem here is that it’s impossible to know how to play some of the navigational segments properly. Ultimately, many failures you come across is largely a product of bad game design and the game not telling you anything rather than any mistake you made. Still, it gets the job done: you have to move from point A to point B, and the navigation system does let you do just that simply. But I can’t think of the system as anything but problematic if one of the decisions that leads you to the best ending is taking the unremarkable path A instead of the equally unremarkable paths B and C.
Additionally, the adult content in this game is, well, rather kinky. You have a few fetishes showing up, and rape is rather abundant. Hell, I think I only counted two consensual sex scenes in the entire game.
Now, the characters are probably the best part of MOON. Most of them suffer from psychological issues in some form. The way these characters deal with their problems are handled nicely, too. Even ignoring the psychological issues, a lot of the characters are really rather fleshed out quite a bit. One thing I didn’t like about how MOON. handles characters is how it rushes through some problem resolutions. One thing that’s definitely different (and arguably a plus) about this game is how the protagonist is actually a girl. As such, what she brings in is all sorts of perspective only a female character can. Whether this is a good thing or bad thing for you guys is not mine to say, but it certainly made things quite a bit more interesting.