Desert Moon is a unique and entertaining tower-defense game (don’t run away so soon tower defense haters, this is actually a decent tower defense game in my opinion, so why don’t you stick around for a while?) based on a desert-like environment on a mysterious planet, far away from your own civilization. Upon this mysterious planet are savage beasts that will attack you for one reason or another – try to think of them as zombies, although Left4Dead style, where specific zombies have different skills, that differ one zombies from another. Assemble your army and take down the swarms and hordes of enemies!

Desert Moon

The difficulty isn’t to my satisfaction. In other words, the game was simply too easy, I played through the entire game in normal mode (because I was too scared to play hard mode) and literally cruised through the entire game. I believe there were a total of 100 – 200 waves and I didn’t find myself stuck on any of them. Sure, there were a couple of close-calls, a couple of my men die and are killed off and that let a portion of my ship exposed to alien attacks, but in the few seconds later I had replenished my defenses with equal or higher value soldiers once the wave was official over. I would have loved to see the difficulty boosted just a tad for those of us that want the game to be on the harder side. Preferable, add an impossible mode, which would be interesting if it truly was close to impossible. It seemed to me that once you get a strategy down then you really don’t need to worry for the rest of the level, as long as you replenish your defense if any men were injured, actually, out-right killed/slaughtered by vicious and savage monsters, to be exact, but injured sounds better, eh? My strategy was building the main enemies weakness in whatever order worked best for the rest of the battle. Such as the enemies that could only be destroyed by fire – my flamethrower units went on the front-line for that battle, simply because the hunters would only pop up if there was a unit in front of it. So in the most logical manner I placed my flamethrower units in the front-lines which would benefit me the most. Then I placed my flare guns and fuel launchers directly behind the flamethrower units, thus creating more flames when the fuel and fire mixed. Obviously, like I have demonstrated, once you have a strategy down you can become an impassible wall. If you ever find the game to be too easy or too hard, just turn up the difficulty when you select what day you want to play; but for me, the game was too easy even on some of the harder modes.

This game was actually so easy that I ought to multi-task while playing it (actually as I’m writing this I’m also fighting off hordes of enemies). Moving on from my rant about how this game was so easy, there were a couple of factors that I lovec about this game, for one the game wasn’t grid based. Grid based tower defense games, which make up about 95% of the genre often hold you back from making an epic defense system. Either the gridded squares are too big and there’s gaps everywhere or other mechanics. That restricted a lot of creativeness from the users as only a fraction of troops could be placed on the map, compared to the number of troops that could be placed on a non-gridded map. What I also enjoyed about Desert Moon, was that you could angle your units in any directions that you wished. This was especially helpful and important when you need to set up defenses on the sides of your mass of soldiers and also to block enemies from reaching your base! What I didn’t like about the game though, was that it was the same enemies over and over and over again on each level. Level one were enemies that were the most basic of all, which had no unique skills at all; level two was made up of enemies that exploded when they were hit, level three was made up of super-resistant metal monsters that could only be damaged through the forces of fire, ect. I would have liked for there to be, overall, more enemies and combinations of enemies in each level.

My LEET Pwnage army. See that line of blood, yeah, that's right.

The art was top-notch quality for sure. Actually, it’s some of the best game art that I’ve seen in a long time and it would commend itself to such as Morningstar (although Morningstar’s art is just a bit out of everyone’s league). The art in Desert Moon was simply superb and I congratulate the artist on such a wonderful job on the art. What I saw as a bold decision by the artist is to have the characters be pixelated and have the rest of the world super-realistic (at least in the game-world standard). This actually made the characters look more tangible, as they kind of separated themselves from the scene in a subtle manner. The enemy designs were also, in my opinion, top-notch and were even better than the heroes themselves. There were several different character designs an all of them behaved differently; but what really brought the characters to life were the animations. These are definitely some of the best animations in a game as of 2010 goes. I really liked how the artist or animator brought these sprites to life. I especially loved the enemies that burrowed underground – the hunters. All of the animations in reality were extremely smooth and well though-out.

I loved the background music in Desert Moon. I believe I’ve actually heard the same track several times, I believe it is a fairly popular track for more environmental/war games out there. The music which was composed of drumming and a couple of other elements was amazing. I loved the sound track and it really did work quiet well with the game itself. The sound effects were spot-on with what I would have expected of a game of such this caliber. There were sound effects for such things as the weaponry and enemies, those being the “kabooms” when you shot, or the “whoosh” when one of the flamethrower units fired at a hunter. In addition, there were sound effects for the little alien guys as were blown up. I don’t remember if there were sound effects for when the aliens were charging at you, though. Either way, if or if there were not, those would have been a fabulous addition to the game adding another level of realism.

I noticed a definite difficullty ramp while I wasplaying Desert Moon. For each level the enemies became more and more advanced. For example, level one was made up of pretty basic enemies, the most basic to be exact and level two was made up of a little bit more complex enemies, such as enemies that would blow up on impact (although, these enemies seemed to have very limited health, thus making them very vaunrible and also as weak as the first enemy). The third level then consisted of enemies that used more tactics, such as burrowing underground and having the quality of only being to to be destroyed through fire – this is the level that you gain the flamethrowers. And then the levels continue is difficulty for levels four and five. In addition to the enemies being tougher each level, for each wave the number of those specific enemies increased. So one wave may have 50 enemies and then a couple of waves later you could be dealing with over 100 enemies. As you can tell there is a pretty well-set difficulty ramp.

Replay value wasn’t too big in this game. The first time I went through the game I didn’t see a lot that would actually bring me back to the game. Sure the game is extremely fun, but that only isn’t going to stop me from not playing the game again. There was definitely limited replay value from my perspective, but there is so much the developer could have done with this game! The thing that I would have liked to see the most would be a level builder. This would actually be a fairly simple level builder as users would only have to specify the starting amount of money for the viewer and then specify the number of enemies and enemy type per wave. Finally, users would be able to submit their levels and share them with the rest of the world. That to me would be a major plus to the game, but the developer may also want to add in-game badges/achievements or a high-score table of some sort. Those three factors would not only bring me back, but others users for sure.

In conclusion, Desert Moon was an extraordinary game that took on a tower defense perspective and then added a bunch of unique features to the game that completely separated it from the flood of TDs. In review, the difficulty could be worked on a bit, it seemed that once you discovered a defined strategy then you were set for the rest of the battle. In addition, the dififculty ramp was actually pretty good, I noticed that as the waves went on and as the levels moved on that each enemy seemingly became strong and more tactical. Such as the differentiation between level one and level two, which consisted of two enemies that acted similar, although the enemies in level two blew up on impact with anything, practically. The art was superb, I loved the realistic art style that the artist utilized. Finally, the replay value, in my opinion was lacking, I would have loved to see such features as level builders, achievements and high-scores be added to the game. All in all, Desert Moon was a superb game that definitely deserve recognition for it’s unique TD play-style!

Play Desert Moon on Armor Games!

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