Blobs, escaping a lab, puzzles and beautiful pixelated art are the key elements to look for when you seem to be lost with what game you should play next.
MO: Astray sets you in the shoes of MO, a green blob like organism that is not only trying to survive a lab full of parasitic plant monsters and other worldly monsters, but it is also trying to find answers and the reason for the cause of the laboratory’s downfall.
As soon as you get into the game you cannot help but be drawn by its gorgeous pixel art. The level designs are amazing and just a burst full of colour. It literally feels like playing through a painting, which is one aspect of indie games that I really enjoy and admire.
MO: Astray, developed by Archplay and supervised by Rayark Inc, is a side scrolling platform game yet has no option to free roam nor does it encourage any exploration within the game. There is no option to backtrack, which is not a big deal but if you missed anything that you may have wanted to see more of, you’d have to replay the level again. There is the option to replay chapters again, however, the abilities you gain ahead cannot be used in the previous chapters which I found rather odd.
There is not a lot of combat focus in this game as it focuses instead on puzzle solving and getting through certain obstacles by jumping around, sticking from wall to wall and sliding, which is main part of the gameplay.
The complexity of the levels puzzles and obstacles become more difficult as you earn more abilities such as floating, dashing and double jump, which helps the game be more dynamic. Most of the time you find yourself face hugging a zombie to help you get across certain sections, whereas other times you’re carefully trying to navigate through tight corridors without landing on spikes, which leads to instant death. Landing on certain enemies can also kill you or takes away a life. You can also mind read the thoughts of the zombies that you latch onto, which I found really cool.
I find that most of the boss battles are also like giant puzzles where it is all about timing and figuring out how to take down each Behemoth. But it’s also frustrating sometimes if you mistime a move or you have to die a couple times to figure out how exactly to take it down.
I also really loved the soundtrack that was included in the game. It just really uplifts the overall vibe of the gameplay and really suits the game’s tragic tone.
MO: Astray is a clever beautiful tragedy (the storyline reminded me of an anime) with its really dark and sad plotline and multiple endings. The interesting platform gameplay is engaging once you figure out the mechanics, and the visuals are incredible, not to mention the soundtrack just brings everything together nicely. If you’re in the mood for puzzles, seeing incredible visuals, listening to a killer soundtrack, while taking control of a cute little blob that can cause a lot of destruction, then MO: Astray is a game that’s fit to have as part of your collection.
MO: Astray is available now on Nintendo Switch and on PC via Steam.