Fastest Finger Finishes First
HIGH Stunning visual presentation
LOW Many, many resets
WTF Trying to thread the needle at supersonic speed
The player controls a small black ball with tiny eyes. The goal is to move through each level collecting three other balls and then getting to the exit as fast as possible to earn a rating out of three stars—or in this case, moons and suns. This, in turn, opens more levels with new environmental challenges and tweaks to the art style.
Movement is given to the left analog stick (or D-Pad) and only two buttons are used—one for jumping and one for phasing. All the platforms within a level are solid and can be walked on. However, when the phase button is pressed, the player will abandon gravity and begin to move upward through the platforms at speed. By doing this, momentum can be built which allows for dynamic movement. Precise management of this movement is crucially important, especially in later levels.
In the beginning, the balls that must be collected will be strewn within easy reach. A jump and a phase can see all three balls collected in good time. However, much later the button presses become almost manic—I had to move through several platforms, slingshot my ball across vast gaps, and avoid hazards, all by the smallest of margins.
The Sun And Moon is centrally about chaining jumps and phasing perfectly. Consider it the Dark Souls of the puzzle genre because death is inevitable and encouraged—without it, the player would never learn what works and what doesn’t. And when it works, it’s a wonderful feeling. When it doesn’t, which so often happens, it becomes a bit crushing. Several levels saw me reset hundreds of times. I would often capture the first ball with ease, then die eighty times on the second, followed by even more deaths on the third and final ball, all before counting the deaths needed to make it to the exit!
There are 100 levels to unlock, and the difficulty curve varies wildly. I found that I was flying through levels in the 40s, while still stuck on one back in the teens. In fact, I’m still stuck on that particular level. I’ve watched videos of others ace it, but I cannot perfect the minutiae required. Whether it’s a lack of skill on my part or whether my reaction times aren’t as good as I age, I found the game needed movements so precise that I just couldn’t enjoy the game for what it is.
I’d like to describe firsthand what happens if a perfect rating is achieved on each level. I’d like to say that I finished the game completely. However, I can’t do these things because I’m just not that good at The Sun And Moon. This is no failing on the part of the developer, though —they’ve made a smart puzzle-driven title, but one that might only appreciated by those with infinite patience and fingers fast enough to endure falling to their death for the 463rd time on the second ball of level 78.
Disclosures: This game was developed by Daniel Linssen and published by Digerati. It is available on PS4, PC and PlayStation Vita. The code for this review was obtained via the publisher and was played on PlayStation 4. Approximately 10 hours were spent with it, and the game was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: There is nothing in this game to trouble children. It’s entirely safe for young people to play.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing: No audio cues are needed to play this game and there is no dialogue.
Controls: The controls cannot be remapped, however there are many different preset layouts available to suit the player.
Colorblind modes: There are no colorblind modes included.