You have to hand it to shoot 'em up devs that get the classic formula just right so with that in mind, here's Space Moth Lunar Edition.
Space Moth Lunar Edition is a vertical shmup that has you control what I can only guess is a Space Moth as you dodge enemy projectiles and alternate between 2 main weapons while shooting everything in sight. On a basic level, the laser does more damage than the rapid shot but there's actually more to it than that. You see; firing the rapid shot eventually makes large enemies soul-drained which kind of makes them more aggressive but more importantly, it allows you to strike them with the laser in order to get a substantial score boost. The weapon-juggling as you drain enemies then zap them is rewarding stuff and acts as an excellent scoring mechanic. v1d30chumz 3-85-80-239
Now, I must say that Space Moth Lunar Edition is a tough game; so much so that I advise genre newcomers to avoid it until they're confident in their shoot 'em up skills. I personally loved the high degree of difficulty but there is 1 aspect that annoyed me which is that there are a lot of projectiles that head your way thus forcing you to keep your eyes on your moth so it's often difficult to look up to see that you soul-drained an enemy. Therefore, I wish that there was an obvious flashy visual cue whenever an enemy enters that phase on top of the little sound effect that plays. Also, some enemies perish too soon after they transform which is annoying, too.
To make Space Moth Lunar Edition's gameplay more intricate, there are some added complexities such as the ability to control another ship in the form of Hawk DX-1 which has a faster yet weaker rapid fire and stronger yet slower laser. No matter which ship you choose, you'll gradually expand a Skull Circle around you as you use the rapid shot and once it's big enough, you can trigger a mode that converts all projectiles within the now-shrinking circle into skull score pick-ups. Anyway, you also get a stock of powerful bombs and there are hidden items to find in each stage by blasting sparkling spots with the laser. These elements make the gameplay quite well-rounded.
On a presentational level, Space Moth Lunar Edition is bursting with vibrant neon visuals that'll certainly get burned into your retinas and the insect theme is done exceptionally well and it even reminded me of Mushihimesama. Meanwhile, the soundtrack is upbeat and complements the shooting action although the sound effects can be cheesy but not so much that they detract from the gameplay.
Finally, Space Moth Lunar Edition is lacking in certain elements with the most notable of which being that there's no multiplayer at all even though there are a couple of ships to choose from so you'll have to go it alone. As you do, you may be disappointed that there's only 1 arcade-style campaign mode to master with a practice mode being available so you can hone your skills for certain stages and bosses. There aren't even any online rankings; only local leaderboards. Meanwhile, the only substantial pick-ups are the occasional items that grant you extra bombs and lives. In addition to those, I wish there were power-ups that expanded your weapons' capabilities.
Space Moth Lunar Edition is a challenging shoot 'em up with a satisfying scoring system and that alone adds up to one must-have arcade shooter. However, its lack of multiplayer, extra modes, and power-ups makes it feel like a somewhat hollow experience.
- + Tight vertical shooting action with clever mechanics and challenging gameplay
- + Eye-popping neon visuals / cool music
- + Rewarding scoring system
- - Getting bonuses from soul-drained foes is hard when you're trying to avoid projectiles
- - No multiplayer or additional modes
- - Could use some sort of power-ups