Mooseman and Dolly are two beautiful puzzle platformers. One takes you on a spiritual journey and the other delights us with a pretty, yet dark artstyle. In this week’s Best Indie Games we look at Mooseman by Morteshka and Dolly by MA Games Studio.
While Ste was working hard programming away on The Flawless: Art’s Tale I had some time to check out some up and coming indie games. After a quick root through Steam Greenlight I found a pair of beauts. Honestly I was in the mood for some RGP excitement but these two puzzlers are too good to miss. This week I’m talking about Mooseman and Dolly, Mooseman is by Morteshka and Dolly by MA Games Studio.
First on my list is the Mooseman. The Mooseman is a 2D adventure game. You play a mysterious shaman who is able to see and interact with both the real and the spiritual world. It seems the aim of the game is to safely make your way through the spooky and eerie forest avoiding dangers and obstacles by switching between reality and the spiritual world. The concept behind Mooseman is derived from real folklore of their home Perm City in Russia, so I’m expecting some dark and magical goings on in this game.
What caught my eye with this game’s Greenlight campaign is its art style. It’s extremely atmospheric and I like the use of colour and tones. The silhouetted style has become somewhat popular amongst the indie scene and is verging on tired. That said the Morteshka team have made excellent use of shadows and that paired with their scratchy drawing style has resulted in a fresh take on a familiar look. Another aspect that impressed me was the authenticity of the shaman’s amble. It gives the game an anchor of realism in a fantasy world. Mooseman is a handsome game and from what I’ve seen so far, each scene urges you to continue to play the game.
This week I’ve been able to try out demos of the both games. Mooseman’s demo definitely lives up to its atmospheric screen shots. The animal sound effects and moody noises further add to the experience; I’m glad they opted for this rather than music as repeating challenging puzzles with a tune on repeat just gets tedious in my opinion. You might have read in our Retro Roots articles that even though I love playing games I am kind of terrible at them. I need a lot of practise so having a slower paced puzzler suits me fine, but other more nimble fingered gamers out there may get frustrated with the pace. The puzzles themselves were pretty straight forward and not exactly brainteasers but challenging enough to be entertaining. In general I enjoyed playing the Mooseman demo and I’m looking forward to its release sometime in 2016.
In the moonlight
The other game that caught my eye the other day whilst on Steam Greenlight was Dolly. Originally Dolly was a short 15 minute game made on GameMaker but creators at MA Game Studios say that the original was a kind of prototype to be a ‘simple proof of concept for the aesthetics and basic platforming mechanics’. Since then Dolly has received some great feedback and I have to agree with most of it. The makers of Dolly have made a great start on this indie game.
A pretty skull
One of the consistent comments about this game is the striking art style and yes it is striking! The panned out screenshots are beautifully balanced and delicate. They remind me of traditional art of the Far East. As mentioned earlier I played the demo, so it was a real treat to see other scenes. In this game you play as a little fellow who makes cute noises. He jumps around the panned out scenes which then lead into “close-ups” which you then jump around whilst avoiding fatal drops and deadly spikes. The creator has made some very pretty images in this demo; so I’m looking forward to the seeing more.
Pretty screen shots
Jumping around is fun, especially in the panned out scenes, but I have to agree with some of the feedback by netizens in the sense that navigating the little guy can be tricky even frustrating. I imagine MA Game Studios is working on making the jumping more fluid. The gameplay reminded me a little bit of Super Meat Boy, a game I find frustrating. Even so I felt compelled to persevere as the scenes are really pretty.
In regards to the plot it seems quite sinister. You’re this little guy jumping around someone’s head and as you proceed the head deteriorates. There is also an unnerving ‘beep beep’ of hospital heart monitor which makes you think someone’s life in your hands. The demo doesn’t really give much more away in terms of plot but I’m expecting a sad story. Keep up to date on all things Dolly by following its developers on Twitter and Facebook.
Thanks for checking out Mooseman and Dolly with us, until Next time gamers, where we’ll probably be reminiscing about retro gaming classics, talking to some of our indiedev pals, or informing you about our game and experiences. I hope you enjoyed the read! To keep up to date with our game the Flawless: Art’s Tale and Bare Knuckle Development the you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
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This article “Mooseman and Dolly” was first published on the Bare Knuckle Development Blog on 4th November 2015 and is written by Tony Leavy, director, writer, and designer at Bare Knuckle Development currently working on their epic sidescrolling RPG adventure indie game, The Flawless: Arts Tale. This article is part of Bare Knuckle Development’s ‘Best Indie Games’ series which was originally called the ‘Indie Games to be Excited About’ series.