GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon Review thumbnail

GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon Review

Brilliant roguelike action

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on 👹

GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon is rated Mature by the ESRB

You don't often see modern sequels of obscure Famicom games but Konami made GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon anyway and it's great.

│ Just like in nearly all our reviews, you can watch A.J. play GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon below so you can judge accordingly. ▶️

GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon screenshot 1
This fellow looks tough but he goes down quick

GetsuFumaDen is a 1987 Famicom game that even as a retro enthusiast, I've honestly never heard of or played. So, it's surprising that the decision to make GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon was made. I mean; Konami has a vast library of some of the greatest games ever created so why bring back this little-known game? Whatever the reason, I'm glad that they did because this is one super-fun roguelike that I found difficult to put down whenever I started playing it. Your goal is to basically fight a bunch of demon bosses that appear at the end of procedurally generated labyrinthine stages and if you perish, you'll have to start all over again albeit with some unlockables and currencies carried over. It's a simple structure to grasp but definitely difficult to master so you'll keep playing over and over again. v1d30chumz 3-223-3-251

The first thing that struck me is just how incredible GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon's graphics are. It's the sort of game where screenshots just don't do it justice as everything is beautifully animated to make it look like classic Japanese artwork come to life. From the detailed backgrounds to the eye-popping effects whenever you attack; it's a real feast for the eyes. Plus, the soundtrack is just great as you'll hear eerie Japanese singing, epic rockin' boss battle music, and even a little reggae jam whenever you run into a shop. 🎵

GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon screenshot 2
I'm going to have to do a load of laundry after this

So, how is GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon played? You control a samurai who can equip a wide variety of weapons from whips to rifles and katanas to bombs. My favourite weapons are the katanas be they single or double as they're fast and much more efficient at taking out enemies even when they do less damage per hit. Combining those with the odd long-range attack towards more annoying enemies provides an enjoyable balance. Probably the most gratifying move is when you parry an incoming blow then counter-attack for massive damage. Anyway, you can also double-jump and dodge-roll out of harm's way which adds to the feeling of mastery to combat whenever you emerge from a mob of enemies unscathed. It's tight and intuitive stuff that I wholeheartedly enjoyed. 😄

The roguelike aspect of GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon incorporates unlockables that can make runs fruitful even if you couldn't quite master a couple of stages on your previous try. The element that I enjoyed most in this regard involves unlocking potential upgrades for weapon types then whenever you receive that weapon, you can spend earned points on filling those slots thus making your blade much more potent. There are also permanent upgrades that are much more difficult to unlock but even the slightest boost that they offer can be more than enough to turn the tides. I loved the feeling of strategically powering up during each run and it compelled me to jump straight in to another attempt whenever I bit the dust. Not many roguelikes have this effect on me so you know it's good.

Making it further and further as you slay the selection of memorable bosses makes for one satisfying roguelike structure but on the downside, it does take a substantial amount of time to start unlocking worthwhile features so make sure you have plenty of patience before giving GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon a go. Specifically, in order to gather enough materials to unlock weapon slots and permanent upgrades, you'll need to complete at least a handful of moderately successful runs. Another issue is that there is frequent visual chaos in the heat of battle which can make it exceptionally difficult to decipher enemies thus rendering it nearly impossible to parry or dodge unless you pull yourself out of the obscured situation and try again. Other than that, this is a great game; I highly recommend it. 👍

GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon screenshot 3
Looks like the nor'easter is blowin' in; it's that time o'year, ya know?

I didn't expect to love GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon as much as I did. As a revival of an old game that not many folks are aware of, it does an excellent job of offering a modern and challenging roguelike experience. I hope to see many more games like this.

  • + Tight 2D action with satisfying moves and a good variety of weapons
  • + Gorgeous visuals and cool music
  • + Rewarding unlockables throughout
  • - Frequent visual chaos can make it hard to clearly see the onscreen action
  • - It takes a bit too long to start unlocking any noteworthy things
8.1 out of 10
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Watch A.J. play GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon
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