REVIEW: ‘MO: Astray’ is Adorable and Unique (Switch)

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MO: Astray

MO: Astray is a 2D pixelated, narrative-focused, side-scrolling, action platformer developed by Archpray and published by Rayark Games. Mo: Astray has you taking on the role of a sentient life form that you control through brain-racking puzzles looking for answers to questions left unanswered. As you play through MO: Astray you shall be challenged by various environmental puzzles that require some serious thinking and quick reaction time. Personally, I enjoy platformers and this game also packs quite the beautiful and frustration that comes along with these types of games. MO: Astray originally released on PC on October 25, 2019, with the Nintendo Switch version to be released on September 10, 2020.

MO: Astray has you placed in a bleak situation as you explore your surroundings, jumping from platform to platform while avoiding hazards. As you look for answers to your questions, you’re met with dangerous enemies, of whom you can control to help solve some of the puzzles, but also give both important key aspects of what happened as well as random lines of dialogue. MO: Astray checks off all the boxes needed in a platformer such as a cute protagonist, lots of various baddies, challenging puzzles, a compelling story, and of course something out to kill you.

The game mechanics are quite simple in MO: Astray, you use the left analog stick to move, the right analog stick to aim your jump, and then the Left trigger or bumper to jump. However, as you progress through the game, you’ll unlock other abilities for MO to use in order to solve the puzzles or defeat the enemies you are faced with. The puzzles in this game start off slightly simple, but definitely jump right into head-scratching quite quickly, which can lead to you having to put the game down for a bit and think of how to pass this challenge. There are various difficulties in the game, but they simply just add more “lives” for you to lose with the “Easy” difficulty giving you 6 and the hardest difficulty “Disaster” giving you just 1 life to live.

What makes MO: Astray such a unique game is the way in which the story is told. As you come across many humanoid enemies, you can interact with them and gain some glimpses to who or what is responsible for the chaos that ensued. Due to this mechanic, it had me holding the “A” button on every enemy I was able to interact with and see what they had to say. Also, depending on whom you interacted with you would get a short cutscene that showed visions of the past that ended up having the enemies placed where they were placed. 

MO: Astray holds a special place in my heart as probably one of the more beautiful and enraging games I’ve played this year, but don’t take that enraging part negatively. The fact that even on the easiest difficulty you’re still massively challenged to figure out how to over these challenges even if results in MO being crushed, shredded, eaten, drowned, and more, just to finally feel good about yourself when you finally get past that obstacle.

Overall, MO: Astray is a beautiful game with a dark story. It’s fun and challenging and requires the player to think outside the box at times to figure out a lot of the puzzles. At the end of it all, it’s a great feeling to play and have fun. So if you enjoy platformers, unique storytelling, and something to challenge the brain, pick this game up!

MO: Astray releases for the Nintendo Switch on September 10, 2020, for $14.99. 

Mo: Astray
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    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

MO: Astray is a beautiful game with a dark story. It’s fun and challenging and requires the player to think outside the box at times to figure out a lot of the puzzles. At the end of it all, it’s a great feeling to play and have fun. So if you enjoy platformers, unique storytelling, and something to challenge the brain, pick this game up!