Moo Lander is a 2D adventure platformer developed and published by The Sixth Hammer. Having crash-landed on a lush Martian landscape, the last hero of the Landers must scour the planet in search of a source of infinite milk. Since milk is the ultimate power source for your people, you must find a new source of the precious liquid, even if that means confronting the mighty cows themselves.
As I prepped for the oncoming E3 coverage, I expected many varied and different gaming experiences. Needless to say, however, my E3 bingo card didn’t include a game where I pilot a flying saucer around a verdant martian landscape in search of milk. As is often the case, though, the unexpected brings with it a unique experience like I’ve never had before, and I look forward to exploring further.
To start with, let’s talk about Moo Lander‘s unique gameplay. While labeled as a 2D platformer, it isn’t that in the traditional sense. Instead of jumping from platform to platform, players pilot a flying saucer through a large 2D map. As the player traverses the environment, they must maneuver around hazards and fend off enemy attacks. Due to the layout of the map and the way the player has to dodge and maneuver around threats and obstacles, the game feels like a 2D platforming experience. It creates something familiar while also being strikingly different.
Moo Lander also employes a leveling system that builds out gameplay. As I earned levels during my demo experience, I unlocked new combat abilities such as attacks, a defense shield, and a directional dash. While the demo only gave me access to a standard projectile attack, a sword for close-range combat, and a non-lethal shock bomb, the developer promises a total of 12 different attack types in the complete game, along with several defensive abilities to unlock as well.
While all these abilities bring fun twists to how the player approaches the game’s various challenges, they all share something in common. They all run on the player’s supply of milk. Due to this resource sharing, the player must always be conscious of how much milk is left and forces them to decide whether a particular enemy is worth spending the milk to beat. Though there are milk stations scattered throughout the level, I never knew how long it would be till my next refill, which kept me keenly aware of how much was left in my tank.
The biggest test of my management and utilization of these interconnected abilities came with the demo’s ending as I met the game’s first boss: one of the mighty cows. This extended, multi-part confrontation kept me on my toes as I maneuvered around the cow’s numerous attacks, fended off summoned minions, and attempted to shock bomb the cow until it could be captured.
The final thing that makes this flying 2D platformer unique is its integration of puzzle elements. While the style of these puzzle elements themselves wasn’t particularly unique in and of themselves, their integration with the flying gameplay gave them a feeling of uniqueness nonetheless. Simple physics-based levers and sliding boxes were the core of the puzzles I experienced. Though there is hope that the full game will use these simple premises to build more unique and elaborate tasks.
With our look at the gameplay complete, we have to talk about Moo Lander‘s visual presentation. The world itself is delivered in a lush, vibrant painted style that rewards the player’s progression just by letting them see the world. The gorgeous design is coupled with lots of background and even foreground activity that creates a sense of depth and life in the two-dimensional world.
Looking back on my time with Moo Lander‘s demo has me feeling nothing but anticipation for when the full game arrives in spring of next year. The unique gameplay and lovely art style combined to create a fun original experience.
The Moo Lander demo is available for free on Steam.