Moon Dancer is a caped crusader who prowls the night solving injustice. Whether it’s a child who has lost her balloon or a crooked politician who’s hiding the evidence, Moon Dancer will swing into the place and grapple with the forces of evil. Unfortunately, everywhere he goes looks like a dark and empty cavern. Is this a manifestation of his tortured soul, or just an example of sleepwalking level design?
At least Moon Dancer, the game, has its heart in the right place. Generally, games that feature swinging mechanics are incredibly fun, like Sway, because they combine timing with platforming in an effortless way.
I’m being followed by a Moon Dancer.
But Moon Dancer is not so graceful’”when you’re swinging around, tilting the device, it can feel like you’re just frantically tapping to get where you want to go. You can’t even jump without first latching to part of the scenery with your grappling hook.
On the easy difficulty, this isn’t a problem, but on the harder difficulty levels you’re trying to race against the clock. Stages that introduce enemies, like the clueless patrolmen who will bump into you aggressively, are even less fun to traverse. It doesn’t even make sense that Moon Dancer’s enemies are the police. Why would policemen look to bust a hero on his way to save a kidnapped child?
Moon Dancer also has a limited set of moves’”he can do a fairly useless spin dash to move downward quickly, but otherwise he just floats along between grapple points without any kind of pizzazz. Some flips or other tricks would be a way to make even basic movement in the game more gratifying.
Nearly all of the 16 levels look the same, with the exception of the final mission, a vertical climb to the top of a clock tower. Once at the top, you have to complete a puzzle that requires you to spin the hands of the clock by swinging around the center. This puzzle is a perfect example of how the imprecise swinging mechanics can quickly frustrate your hero’s efforts.
Swinging to keys, gems, and coins’”it all feels so stale. Moon Dancer is a character with some potential, and the jazzy background music conveys an atmosphere of stylish fun. But the levels are undistinguished, and with some more creative missions, we’d be much more willing to take this thief out on the town again.