By Anusha GanapathiExpress News Service
CHENNAI: Who knew you could emotionally connect with a ball of slime which stuck annoyingly to walls? But it happens through the gradual progression of ‘MO: Astray’. A tiny, cute blue blob collects ominous balls of light to uncover secrets. Secrets of a past life. Secrets surrounding the results of some experiment gone wrong or terribly right resulting in a half destroyed spaceship (or so it seems). There are also zombies, which is a positive in my books. The story is intriguing enough to keep you engaged, but it is to be noted that ‘MO: Astray’ is first and foremost a puzzle platformer.
A puzzle platformer with pixel art — where the graphics are so fluid that you hardly realise this fact. The environment is constructed imaginatively — for example there’s this consistent membranous substance that keeps lighting up. The art work is so raw and surreal it makes you wonder how they even thought of all these elements and stitched it all together to make this game. The thick air of mystery shrouds your way forward, like smog in an extremely polluted city. What are you? Why are you in this destroyed ship? Who speaks in that mysterious voice?
The game progresses gradually, with newer techniques added on at each level. The blob can control the zombies, it seems. The puzzles are not obvious, as is typical to most platformers. It requires blue sky thinking and timely strategising. The boss fights are innovative and different every time, complimenting the mechanical diversity of the game. There are now rumours of a plant extract.
The music of MO: Astray is noteworthy too. If the concept of dreams had a background track, that’s how it would sound. Something destroyed the lives of the people in the ship.
At every point when you begin to appreciate the above elements of the game, the story itself successfully leads you astray — distracting you from the ambience and immersing you into the plot. The game gives an imaginative depiction of a horrific story. MO: Astray is without a doubt, the underrated success of 2019.