App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
The Mooseman doesn’t feel like it should be a mobile game at all. It’s a dark, arcane, slow, and audio-heavy experience that feels more appropriate for playing all in one session and in one place. Somehow though, The Mooseman feels just fine on mobile, and it’s a pretty great adventure game to boot.
The Mooseman’s world is based on the mythology of the Chud tribe, which features multiple worlds, spirit animals, and a lot of unfamiliar territory. Unlike Greek or Norse mythology, which seeps into an astounding amount of popular media, The Mooseman tells a new story using a different set of myths, and--although it may not be entirely easy to follow--it makes a really striking impression.
You play as the mythical Mooseman as you journey between the Lower, Middle, and Upper Worlds. To get through these areas, you use a direct control scheme with a virtual joystick and buttons that you use to mostly solve puzzles and traverse the environment.
In addition to simply moving about the screen, the Mooseman also has a special power at his disposal. At the touch of a button, you can don a moose mask, which allows you to peek into the spirit world to see what might be hiding from the human world. Using this power, you can see characters that might not otherwise be there, make certain obstacles evaporate, or even find hidden paths.
Most of The Mooseman’s puzzle-solving revolves around putting on your mask and removing it at the appropriate times. Sometimes, it’s in rapid succession to outrun a spirit beast, or it could be to turn certain switches on at the right time to open a door. The futher you get into the game, the puzzles get more and more creative, with The Mooseman even adding in new mechanics where necessary to keep things from growing stale.
Try a new style
The Mooseman has some pretty good puzzle design in it, but the main draw of the game is definitely its style. It’s muted color palette, plodding movement speed, and ominous soundtrack really drive you to try and discover what this world is like and what your character’s motives truly are.
If you’re not sure this sounds like your kind of game, the good news is that The Mooseman is free-to-try. You can get through a sizable chunk of the game completely free of charge, but then have to pay to unlock the ability to play the rest of it. If you like what you play of the game’s opening, the rest of it won't disappoint. There are a few late-game puzzles that really change things up (and some not in a good way), but for the most part, the game’s opening gives you a really good sense of whether The Mooseman is something you’d enjoy or not.
The bottom line
The Mooseman certainly isn’t your typical kind of adventure game, but that mostly works in its favor. The game has a style about it that makes you constantly unsure of what to expect next, and the gameplay backs this up with some new and (mostly) interesting mechanics the further you get into it. Just make sure you play the game when you can focus on it. A lot of what The Mooseman trades in is tone-setting, and this is something you can easily lose when playing on a mobile platform.