GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon
Genre(s): Action, Adventure
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 10/02/2022
A code was provided for review purposes
GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon is a slow-paced rogue-like that sees a samurai fighting through limbo and defeating hordes of monstrosities that live in the depths of hell. Using sharp blades, spears and multiple other armaments you will be slaying, upgrading your arsenal and fighting huge bosses while navigating through a maze searching for a away out. If you die, however, your soul is reincarnated into a new body, losing everything you’ve gathered. You’ll need to start afresh and fight your way back to the top again. A typical formula for any good rogue-like, this is no exception.
Welcome to Limbo
I’ve played a few great rogue-likes in my time but none as beautiful as GetsuFumaden: Undying Moon. Its art-style reminds me of the Japanese painting, The Great Wave off Kanagawa. It’s almost like every stage was hand painted through the medium of some sort of mysterious energy which has been brought to life. Each stage has loads of intricate details that made me me actually stop dead in my tracks and stand still to see them more clearly, even if it meant me being hit by enemy projectiles.
The story sees Getsu Fuma looking for his lost brother, whose whereabouts are currently unknown. The shrine maiden mentions a seal that has been broken and the world coming to an end unless you can save it. You will need to venture into the pits of limbo to find the truth and seal the void. Though you’re tasked with these monumental tasks you’ll have a lot of weapons at your disposal that can help you overcome whatever lays beneath your feet.
You’ll start with a simple blade but will find other weapons in chests within each stage. You’ll be able to hold two weapons at any one time and swap them out for more powerful ones once you’ve found them. You’ll even find secondary armaments that allow you blow up your enemies in Fantastic fashion though there is limited supply of these and they take time to charge before you can use them again. So don’t get too trigger happy with them.
After leaving the hub area you’ll able to explore each maze-like stage, searching out enemies to devour, souls to collect and weapons to gather. Weapons that you no longer need can be scrapped and the resources can be pocketed for later use in upgrade shop.
You also find small gates which can allow you to do a number of different things such as using them warp to previous sections of the map, seek out shops to purchase new equipment and upgrade unique traits using resources you’ve gathered from fallen enemies and chests to upgrade your current load-out.
There are a whole host of different enemy types you will encounter across each stage, all attacking in different ways and from different angles – you’re going have your work cut-out. But your biggest challenge will come in the form of the end stage bosses. Each one is massive in scale and it’s a truly magnificent event when you first meet them, such as the appearance of a massive skeleton on the first stage or when you encounter the water hydra that swims through the ocean before splashing out of the water, towering over you.
Each boss has their own attack patterns, on your first time meeting them it’s doubtful you will survive the encounter (unless you’re quick to react) as memorising their attack patterns is key here. Finding an opening to attack with whatever you’ve got will be the key to your victory allowing you pass to safety, to new areas and new encounters.
So with all this going on, how do you actually fight the forces of evil? Well with a good old-fashioned light attack of course. A more powerful charge/special attack/both can be performed by pressing either Y for multiple hit combos, or the X button (depending on the weapon you’re using) will do either a charge or some variation. These can be swapped-out with a tap of the R bumper. ZL, ZR normally have secondary weapons attached to them once you’ve acquired them, finally a tap of the L bumper allows you to use your healing vases that you only have a limited number of at the beginning of a stage.
The cool thing here is that upon defeating an enemy or opening a chest you may acquire a soul. These can be gathered and devoured by yourself into four different statistics such as main, sub, health, and potions. As you collect more of each of these these, circular icons will begin to glow. A press of the right analogue stick will allow you to consume souls into one of the highlighted icons, giving you increased health or more vases to store potions in. It will be up to you when you want to use them and what perk/icon is highlighted will depend what gets upgraded.
There is also a very cool mechanic that allows you to transform and become more powerful by keeping a combo active. The more enemies you hit without being hit yourself will slowly transform you into a killing demon machine! Slightly changing your appearance into a samurai god looks very cool but I found it a little difficult to maintain combos since as soon as you get hit or the combo ends, you turn back into your normal self.
A SLOW SLOG…
While the game has a few new mechanics that spices up the typical rogue-like formula, I found the game to be incredibly slow-paced. Having to start constantly on the same stage fighting the same huge skeleton became pretty boring. There are different gates with different bosses to fight but having to explore the same areas with slight changes to the layout became quite tedious for me.
One of the things I like about rogue-likes is the constant changes, sometimes not knowing if you’re gonna face that easy boss or something more challenging on your first run. But here you will always fight the same skeleton boss before you can start picking new gates and new areas, though you need keys to unlock new levels.
I just got a bit bored playing the same areas every run before being able to pick new stages. Plus I found the controls sometimes felt delayed in their input and the jump ability is possibly one of the worst I’ve ever had the misfortune to use. The main character feels incredibly heavy and his jump is really poor, especially when you’re fighting the dreaded speedy centipede.
Plus, I never really felt like I was progressing or unlocking cool stuff. Everything unlocks at a snail’s pace and for a rogue-like it just didn’t quite gel with me. It’s a good game, no doubt, but some of its mechanics and workings don’t really fit all that well into the rogue-like genre for me personally.
GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon is an interesting rogue-like that has a lot of potential. Its crowning glory is the beautiful art-style which is simply amazing. Especially the boss designs, environments and backgrounds. But I found the game rather slow-paced. Maze-like stages were a chore to navigate and while there’s a lot of loot to gather, combos to achieve and upgrades to perform it’s instantly bogged down by the same repetitive starter stage and boring maze-like stages that got tiring to navigate.
GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon is wonderful eye candy but its gameplay feels just too slow-paced and it can become boring. I love rogue-likes but this doesn’t quite fit the mould.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
You can purchase GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon from the Nintendo eShop.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.