Moonbreaker is a Virtual Board Game Full of Childhood Wonder
Moonbreaker is a game that goes into territory not seen very much in today’s gaming industry. This is a turn-based tactical IP that very much plays like an actual virtual board game. Players take turns making moves with either offensive or defensive positions. Developed by the same people who made Subnautica, this game is tailor-made to be a miniature experience. Customizing and placing pieces on a board and moving them in strategic places is essentially what this title is all about. The story is pretty bare-bones. Basically, it is about a Captain and a team of space mercenaries fighting off hordes of alien threats. This will be a constantly evolving title. With new content and ever-expanding lore layering on top of each other for years to come. It will come with both online and offline options. Providing plenty of replayability and challenges for players of all ages. This game will be fairly accessible for all types of players, as well.
Hence, it won’t be as complex as it seems to be. Everything is unlockable through sheer gameplay. Captains, the crew, and assist units are all gradually added to the roster with each subsequent match. There will be Seasons in Moonbreaker to which new characters will be added. At launch, there will be over 50 different units to try out. Each with its own looks, stats, and abilities. In time, there will be so many units to choose from, that the experimentation with varying combinations will be infinite. Even though the combat mechanics in this game may seem a bit static, the primary appeal will be through building up a collection. Unlocking top-tier units and showing off the paint jobs from the detailed customization feature definitely has its place. The battle features, however, are something that can be a bit cerebral along with the spectacle that comes with it.
The fact that Moonbreaker is a turn-based game is rare. Other games, like Final Fantasy, have been turn-based for years. It has only been recently when it shifted to more real-time combat. In any case, this design choice for Moonbreaker makes sense due to its “board game” aesthetic. This game was deliberately made to look like actual physical miniatures. There are no animations during combat, for the most part. Instead, players will be forced to use their imaginations. No doubt that there is a certain charm to allowing players to exercise parts of their minds which have been dormant since childhood. Painting the figures will go down to the most minute detail. Complete with polishing and adding decals. There will be a robust palette of colors to choose from. Along with additional hues and finishes, which will be added with every Season.
Abilities can be upgraded after every match. Every match plays out with a Captain being dropped onto the battlefield. Behind the Captain, are three different units. Thus, there are two different assists that players can choose from. The board isn’t “grid-based” either. Players can freely move their pieces around pretty much anywhere. There will also be cover to hide behind. Some with soft surfaces and others with hardened textures. Doing this will reduce damage from incoming attacks. Therefore, the combat mechanics are somewhat similar to Warhammer 40K and its ilk. There is also a “Mana” of some kind in Moonbreaker called “Cinder.” This is used to both summon new units during battle, or to use a special ability. Moving around characters is very much like sliding pieces around on a board. There are no animations of any kind, except with magical effects and explosions.
Chipping Into Childhood Chapters
The overall motif with Moonbreaker is to have players “feel like a kid, again.” Even though this is an interesting philosophy in design, only time will tell how the gaming community will respond to it. Players will take the figures and start telling their own stories with them. Every character in this game will start off as a blank slate. Therefore, it will be up to the player to come up with their own backstory and design pattern. With specs now available to make video games more realistic than ever, this is an interesting direction to take on this project. Thus, the maps also have a hand-made charm to them. They will all have a diorama layout to them, letting players kind of fill in the gaps with the history of these places. Even though there will be lore to this game which will build up over time, it will be nothing more than a backdrop.
Therefore, Moonbreaker will very much be a virtual “toybox” for players to dive into. Sometimes, people forget what it takes to tap into imagination. This game will reignite that old sense of play that adults tend to drift away from. This game may kind of turn off some gamers at first glance, but it appears to have some magic to its simplistic stature. It is offering something that isn’t seen in gaming today. That is the “less is more” approach. Needless to say, this game is still under development. It will be opening up to the public for Early Access, soon. It will be rough around the edges, for sure. However, just keep in mind that there are some epic plans for this IP. So, it won’t take long to iron out all the wrinkles and remove all the bugs that might make this experience “less than suitable.”
So, even though Moonbreaker is still under construction, it doesn’t mean that players still can’t enjoy it. It will be released for Early Access on September 29th. It will be available for PC and Mac. There is no word on whether or not it will be coming to consoles. It’s still pretty early to write them off. Develop is still ongoing and patches, hotfixes, and tweaks will be a constant occurrence, for sure. Hence, it is very possible that Moonbreaker could be shifting to consoles once it has reached a certain point. Right now, it will just solely be a PC and Mac exclusive.