Project Gert: Moonbreaker #XBLIG VVG IndieVerse Review
VVG IndieVerse Reviews
“Project Gert: Moonbreaker”
By: Mr. Deeke
Welcome to this installment of VVGtv’s IndieVerse Reviews–today we’ll be taking an up-close look at one of my favorite Xbox Live Indie puzzlers “Project Gert: Moonbreaker”. This game utilizes familiar mechanics that gamers will easily recognize, but it also introduces a whole new level of originality when it comes to Indie puzzlers.
Project Gert: Moonbreaker 80 MSP
This game is highly recommended for puzzle-fans, especially those that enjoy a good challenge as the game itself gets rather difficult as players progress onwards. Overall this game is highly addicting and very enjoyable to gamers who enjoy a good brain-teaser.
- Developer – Modern Intrigues (Modern07)
- Genre – Puzzle & Trivia
- XBL Marketplace URL – Project Gert: Moonbreaker
- Release Date – 2/10/2011
- Try or Buy? – Try before you Buy
- Price – 80 MSP
- Rating – 4/5
“A physics based puzzle game set in the world of Project Gert. Over 200 lines of voice acted dialog. Over 50 levels. Campaign and Challenge mode.”
–Xbox Live Marketplace Description
I. Story Line
Project Gert: Moonbreaker’s story-line lies within the Campaign mode, and players are quickly introduced to the puzzles right off the bat. With a short introduction by our friend the Scientist, gamers learn that the object of this game is to basically hack and infiltrate data within the Project’s Downlode system–breaking into enemy computer mainframes for practice.
Gert and her team must decrypt complex alien data from these strange computer mainframes, gaining information via data cores that are unlocked when players solve the puzzles. The campaign progresses across around a dozen stages, each one with it’s own unique feel and challenging requirement to move onto the next stage.
Players are also introduced to the game’s cast of characters; Gertrude, an Agent that specializes in data-hack decryption; John, the zoot-suit-wearing hipster Agent; Doc Ferris, the wise and knowledgeable scientist who knows everything about these data devices; Cassandra, Gertrude’s twin sister; and finally Steve, a reflection of John’s character with a similar occupation.
Each character is voiced differently and has their own personality, giving this game more of an original feel.
Will Agent Gertrude and her team decipher the alien data and crack it’s secrets so Doc Ferris can analyze and interpret the information, or will she fail to unlock the secrets of the stars? It’s up to players to test their mettle and skill in this challenging Indie puzzler.
II. Game Mechanics
This game is highly physics-based; that is to say that all objects are built atop one another and shift slowly in different directions, putting pressure on the player to correctly use gravity and the ability to bounce objects off one another to their advantage. Once players understand the concepts of the kinetic gravitation system, it becomes much easier to strategically plan out each move.
Basically players must unlock the data that is represented by golden blocks. The only way to get these blocks to the designated area is to destroy red blocks that represent enemy computer mainframe defenses. All red blocks are disposable but the core (the golden blocks) is invaluable and must safely land in the acquired zone. In theory this sounds easy, however when there are many differently shaped blocks that are toppling over, the game creates its own sense of pressure on the gamer.
All stages are always timed, too, and what’s more is that each structure of blocks will shift slowly, and eventually just fall over on it’s own without any provocation from the player. The best thing about the physics system, though, is that anything can happen at any time–there is no way to tell where or how the blocks will fall, and everything is randomized and gravity can actually help players solve the puzzles.
There are two kinds of play modes–gamers can choose from either Campaign mode, which offers the main story line career mode, or Challenge mode which tosses a player right into a game that has specific requirements. There are a massive number of different stages in the Challenges mode, over forty levels that provide a unique experience each time.
Since there are no essential weapons or items in this game, I’ll talk about the characters and their unique abilities. Each member of the team has their own skill that affects gameplay diferently–for example, Gert’s ability is Clarity which slows down time and pulls any one block in the applied direction–this can save data cores from falling over the edge.
Also, skills can only be used a certain amount of times per round–this is indicated by a number on the user’s interface. Usually the limit is somewhere between 1 and 3, depending on the requirements.
My personal favorite ability would have to be the Scientist’s ability–Doc Ferris has the Vortex ability that acts like a black hole that pulls all blocks toward it’s center of mass. This skill can send the whole structure tumbling down uncontrollably, or it can be a perfect strategy to solving a puzzle in a limited number of moves.
Cassandra, Gertrude’s sister, also has a very useful ability that creates a balloon to suspend one red block in the air. This can be the difference between winning and a game and failing, especially since you can use certain blocks (such as plus-shaped blocks or horizontal blocks) to act as safety nets for your precious golden cores.
John’s Capshot ability is also a great and useful tool to utilize while solving these complex puzzles. This ability involves the player aiming a crosshair and shooting a “bottle-cap” off the side of the screen at the designated object/area. The cap causes the block to ricochet in such a way that can be extremely helpful, especially if a core is about to fall over the edge and needs to be nudged back onto the platform.
Steve uses a skill called Warhead which is basically a bomb that explodes, sending blocks flying up in the air–this can be useful to launch cores in the air and to clear a path for them to fall directly in a certain spot. This is an ability that has great potential when used correctly, but is a bit hard to utilize at first.
Each skill takes both precision and careful planning to use correctly–usually if you ad-lib your skill-shots you will miss, especially if you’re not used to how they function.
IV. Unique Features
Project Gert: Moonbreaker has a myriad of unique features such as it’s expansive physics system that puts emphasis on gravity-based dynamics, identifiable and quality animated characters, an interesting and unpredictable story line, and let’s not forget the very unique puzzle system that is unlike most XBLIG’s in design and function. The graphics are also amazing in this title, not to mention the artwork for each character–everything is clean and the game is aesthetically pleasing.
This Xbox Indie is one of the first of it’s kind to use gravitational physics in this particular fashion–melding concepts of gravity which people can easily understand with a cleverly designed puzzler that involves strategy and critical thinking skills. I really enjoy how the game reproduces an accurate depiction of how items would react to one another in such a space, and there are even in-game physics qualities that change as players progress (ie “high friction” & “low bounce”).
Even in the very beginning players can admire the quality artwork that is the basis of each character in this game. There are a number of Xbox Indies that are flawed when it comes to concepts of graphics or art, but this game is very enjoyable to look at. It really gives players the sense that they are actually in a strange anime story trying to unlock secret data while interacting with other characters and learning more about the world around them.
Solving the puzzles in this game adds a sense of achievement when players beat a difficult level or challenge, especially when they do so and attain a very high score. As anything is possible in this Xbox Live Indie Game–in the context that any block can land anywhere, especially when abilities are used–players can gain high scores in no time at all depending on the circumstance. This sense of randomness adds a new appeal to the game, especially since each stage can be played many different ways.
It’s Great Fun! Project Gert offers a stellar fun-filled experience that isn’t always found in Xbox Indie puzzlers, especially ones that are as dynamic. Whether you’re an everyday gamer or a constant one, this challenging brain-teaser is a good fit especially for gamers who prefer puzzlers. With different objectives for each stage every level has it’s own feel and affords players a new experience so that gameplay doesn’t get stale.
Artwork/Graphics. I really do enjoy the anime-styled characters that are featured in Project Gert: Moonbreaker. Each of them has their own voice and their own personality, allow players to be more immersed in the game as characters interact with one another. The visual graphics of the menus as well as the in-game stages–blocks, special abilities, character icons, etc–all provide for a user interface that is appealing as well as easy on the eyes.
It’s Addicting. Any serious puzzle game should have this factor included if the developer wants to keep people playing, and Project Gert is quite addictive–I constantly find myself going back and trying to complete stages in different ways and to improve my high scores. Practice is key to becoming an unstoppable data-mining machine in this game, especially when it comes to using each ability properly–what better way to practice than to play the game?
It’s Huge! There are an incredible 42 diverse Challenge stages to play as well as 12 stages in the Campaign. Altogether that’s 54 distinct levels to enjoy and to get high scores in. Veteran puzzler fans will have a blast with each of these modes that feature levels that range from easy all the way to mega ball-busting hard.
It’s Challenging. There are some players out there that may not be able to get the hang of this game no matter how hard they try. The concept can be hard to ascertain and even harder to master for some players, and sometimes the stages themselves cause frustration by being seemingly impossible. Even though most people enjoy thinking critically, this kind of timed strategy game can put pressure on some gamers and cause them not to enjoy the title.
It Takes Practice. This game isn’t a puzzler that most players can simply pick up and play once to get good at–it takes practice to learn how to develop your strategies and how to best solve certain stages. This is a minor drawback as some players may want to just get right into a game without having to go through a tutorial, then find themselves disappointed as they have no idea what to do.
Overall I believe Project Gert: Moonbreaker is a very fun and enjoyable Xbox Live Indie puzzler. It has all the traditional aspects we’ve come to expect from the puzzle game genre as well as incorporating its own unique elements that make it stand apart from all the rest. It’s creative use of physics, fantastic quality artwork, pleasant aesthetics, expanded skill abilities and massive number of stages to play all combine in a nice bundle that’s a steal at only 80 MSP.
For more information on “Project Gert: Moonbreaker” and the studio that created it, Modern Intrigues, visit their Tumblr Site.