Help the Mooniacs return home in this delightful puzzler

Jul 11, 2011
Games

Mooniacs ($1.99) is a puzzle flinging game in the tradition of Angry Birds. While I’m not prepared to say it’s the next Angry Birds, it is in its own right a very solid game that will appeal to a very broad audience, and will give many hours of enjoyment to anyone who picks it up. […]

Mooniacs ($1.99) is a puzzle flinging game in the tradition of Angry Birds. While I’m not prepared to say it’s the next Angry Birds, it is in its own right a very solid game that will appeal to a very broad audience, and will give many hours of enjoyment to anyone who picks it up.

The story is very basic, and involves helping your three stranded Mooniacs collect broken pieces of their ship, so they can return safely home. This is accomplished by launching the doughnut-shaped Mooniac into the air to collect both large and small Jujubees that lie scattered around the stage. Each area has a minimum number of Jujubees to collect in order to advance. This alone is usually not too difficult, but the tricky part is collecting them all, and in the proper order. The large Jujubees give a 2x bonus to every subsequent Jujubee collected, and only by collecting the largest ones first, will you be able pass the stage, and earn the coveted trophy for the level.

Similar to the Angry Birds app, the difficulty in Mooniacs scales nicely. Novices and younger children will be challenged just enough while trying to earn the minimum number of Jujubees. Advanced players and completionists probably will need to play for hours on end to collect enough ship parts to unlock the third, most difficult, ending.

Also similar to Angry Birds is that the different characters each have their own flight and bounce characteristics, adding a bit of depth to the game. The round doughnut shape will bounce and roll predictably, but much different than the heavy square and the lightweight hockey puck characters that get introduced in the initial portion of the game. Later stages that employ slick surfaces and bouncing platforms in combination with the different characters’ physical attributes will make for a bit of a brain burner if attempting to get a perfect score.

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Only one fling is allowed on each stage, which, in some ways, I like a bit better than the multiple-shot mechanics of Angry Birds and other similar titles. This means that on every stage there is one “best way” to get all of the Jujubees, and the trick is to hone in on that one way. A bit of experimentation is often needed to determine if you have the right idea, or are way off base, and I found that a lot of the fun in the game is finding that small tweak in angle that will make for a perfect shot.

Overall, I found Mooniacs to be a cute and well-polished game, worthy of my attention. It might not be able to dethrone Angry Birds at this time, but I think many will find it to be a refreshing change of scenery in the same genre.

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Wayne Stuckey

After receiving his bachelor's degree in management information systems on planet Earth, Wayne decided to settle down and live there. He writes from the plains of the Midwest.

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