The Moonstone Equation is a puzzle platformer created by Andy Buck. In my opinion, this game is hugely under-appreciated and underplayed. It’s a massively impressive project with every single bit of the game made by one person.
The development cycle of The Moonstone Equation took place over approximately 10 years from scratch – the engine, the graphics, the music and everything else made by only one person. It’s a game that certainly doesn’t suffer from it; it looks great, feels great and has a huge amount of attention to detail.
To start the game off, you’re dropped at a scientific survey site by helicopter and begin exploring. You’ll meet a fair few work colleagues at the base of operations and it’s your opportunity to start exploring. Whilst out exploring, you’ll come across the famous Moonstone Equation that the scientists are trying to decipher. Eventually, you will be able to decipher it yourself because this game has its own language.
When you start the game, you might feel a bit confused, because the game doesn’t give you any direction on what to do. You get left to roam free, explore, talk to people and do what you want! The whole game is based around exploring and solving puzzles and whilst exploring you essentially accidentally stumble across how to start solving the puzzles and how to beat the game. The more you explore and solve puzzles, the more pieces will fall into place.
The game is full of great attention to detail, for example; this game functions in real time. If you play the game in the morning, all your colleagues will be hard at work. If you play in the dead of night, they’ll all be in bed asleep. Every time you start the game up, you get a custom diary entry. This gives you a little context for how the protagonist is feeling and also gives small hints about what you should do next. It also functions as making sure you remember what you’ve been doing the last time you play the game. This is immensely helpful for people who start playing a game, leave it a long time, then come back to it. I opened up the game today and had a custom diary entry written that said It’d been nearly a year since I’d done anything and I hadn’t made much progress.
The world is huge and varied and so I highly recommend you make a map whilst playing. It can be a little hard to remember which door goes where and keep track of the puzzles you’ve solved. The world is also completely peaceful so you cannot die. There is some great ambiance to this game, with some very lonely and isolated feeling areas. The soundtrack accompanies this very well.
There’s mechanics in this game I didn’t even explore, you can hack and write programs using computer terminals. I also never actually managed to solve the final puzzle, so I’ve never seen the ending.
This game is an adventure through and through, I can’t stress how much I love this game for what it does – it tells you nothing and somehow it has you work out how to complete the game. It has great puzzles, a great setting and amazing attention to detail.