Oh, hey, you’ve heard about the Ready, Steady, Cut! Gamerscore Challenge, haven’t you?
I hope so, because if not this isn’t going to make much sense to you.
Either way, welcome to the first instalment of “Completed”, the creatively-titled series where I write a bit of bullshit about each of the games I beat to 100% throughout this challenge. These aren’t reviews, by the way; think of them more as little diary entries, each one chronicling what it was like to play this particular game for this particular reason. It sounds like a load of rubbish, and it probably is, but the whole point of this challenge was to find ways of looking at games in interesting ways – particularly ones which ordinarily wouldn’t be that interesting to talk about.
Which brings me neatly to 6180 the Moon.
I know you haven’t heard of this game. I had to Google-search the title twice before I wrote this, and I just double-checked it again to be sure, and I played the thing last night. Also, funny story: I have no idea how this ended up on my Xbox One. But there it was. And here we are.
Anyway, it’s a platformer, but one unlike most others I’ve played. In it, you control our friendly neighbourhood satellite, the Moon, with a capital-M, and lead him on a quest to find the Sun, capital-S, who has fucked off somewhere for reasons that will be explained in text-only interstitials. There are 50 levels of varying complexity, and then the whole game flips upside-down, and you play the same 50 levels in reverse.
Here’s the thing, though – it’s good. And it’s good largely thanks to a central gimmick, which is that the top and bottom of the screen don’t act as barriers. Instead, if you soar up through the top or plummet down through the bottom, you emerge at the opposite end. Which means that unlike most side-scrolling 2D platformers, which only task you with worrying about what’s immediately in front of you, the player also has to consider what’s above and below them.
That sounds confusing, so here’s a video of someone beating the whole thing:
It doesn’t look like much (it’s a black background with some basic white geometry stuck on), and none of the levels are long or complex enough that the gimmick really settles into a compelling, game-changing mechanic, but there’s enough going on here that the couple of hours it takes to travel there and back again are a lot of fun. There’s even a dopey, tokenistic narrative, which sees all the planets the Moon visits during his journey having their own little personalities. It’s quite charming.
The music has a meditative quality, too, which might have contributed to how relaxed I felt by the time I’d finished it. I’m usually the first to curse a platformer to hell and back – I’ve played both Super Meat Boy and VVVVVV to completion, much to the chagrin of my spouse and my late controllers – but it seems that if they’re only calling to the Sun and popping back home, I don’t curse them at all. Funny, that.
In the process of beating all the levels I also unlocked all the achievements, including a couple of miscellaneous ones that I thought might require a bit more thought. So as it turns out, this isn’t just a fun, interesting little platformer, it’s also a remarkably quick and easy completion. We’re off to a good start. It’ll last for precisely one update, so make the most of it.