The term Metroidvania comes from a combination of the games Metroid and Castlevania. Metroid was a standout game in that you had free roam of the map but had to come back to areas after you got upgrades like turning into a ball or special weapons. Castlevania was a side-scrolling platformer with lots of action and powerups, so whenever a game seems to imitate the two you get a Metroidvania.
Wikipedia explains it this way, “The term is a portmanteau of the names of the video game series Metroid and Castlevania, based on the template from Metroid from 1986, Castlevania II from 1987, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night from 1997.”
Rusted Moss, a new indie game from developers faxdoc, happysquared, & sunnydaze and publisher PLAYISM is another entry into this sub-genre. I was allowed to review it via Steam so let’s get right into how this game performed and allow you to decide if you’d like to try it out.
The story is about Fern, a Fae changeling which is a separate race from humans that want to wipe humanity out. Her shadowy friend, Puck, sticks around for the adventure and can later be used as a grappling hook to traverse the stages and avoid pitfalls. They want to recover the scattered pieces of a being named Titania to finally end humanity.
I felt the plot wasn’t fleshed out enough as you play and get further details as to what was going on. The story and motivation as to why I’m on this quest are important to me and that comes from all the RPGs I’ve played over the years. Rusted Moss didn’t offer much clarity and the character dialogue wasn’t interesting so I would skim through most of it. This is one of its weakest areas, but this isn’t a genre that is heavy on the plot so I can let this slide a little.
Let’s talk gameplay because that is where Rusted Moss shines brightest. I like to take my time and explore all the places I am allowed to go but I had to be careful how quickly I moved. Enemies are relentless and will take you out if you aren’t paying attention to your health which happened quite a few times to me.
Once Puck can become a grappling hook, the game takes on a different level of difficulty and shows off what the developers wanted to bring to the table. I can tell this feature is one of their selling points as a new game among so many coming out every week, and I enjoyed it but sometimes I hated it, and here’s why.
Some sections were simple enough to get past, but for others you had to be so accurate and swing a certain way that I could be 10 minutes sometimes trying to get to the next screen. It made me want to quit playing because it sadly wasn’t fun anymore just being stuck. I thought it was just me but after reading some reviews on Steam I saw other gamers struggled with this as well.
Don’t let the gifs above fool you, I find the accuracy in those images to be hard to pull off! The one stage I will never forget is The Lab, which had one section that went very long without a save point while for the most part, they were placed after a fair amount of time. If it wasn’t for the cheat codes that you can turn on and off in the Accessibility menu, I don’t know if I could have passed that lab area without them. I was elated to find that I could turn on invincibility, flying around, and unlimited MP.
Rusted Moss can be fun at times, but more often than not it’s a tough climb to continue. I can’t count the amount of times deaths I had because of spikes or enemies that with one hit take half your health. If your looking for something challenging and you enjoy the art style, Rusted Moss may be something you want to try out while waiting for the next highly anticipated title to hit digital and physical shelves, but it just wasn’t for me.
Thanks to PLAYISM for the review copy of Rusted Moss.
You can play Rusted Moss on Steam