The Mooseman for the Nintendo Switch Review
Review by Josh Brant
Game provided by publisher
Art is typically something that is labeled for such items as paintings or sculptures. However, Vladimir Beletsky’s The Mooseman is the video game representation of what art can be with heavy themes embedded into an experience based on forgotten gods and spirits. As someone who’s always been fascinated by folklore of various cultures, I was interested to play this mysterious title, which focuses on Finnish folklore.
The Mooseman is basically a 2D walking-sim game that took me roughly two hours to complete. You take the role of a shaman as he journeys throughout the land, and you will have to shift between the real and the surreal. This main gimmick of the title allows you to solve the puzzles. It’s very much a relaxing experience, but at the same time you can’t relax too much or else you’ll end up falling off a cliff, killed by hostile forces, or miss out on finding the many hidden collectibles.
A nice touch to the gameplay is that you can set your shaman to automatically walk for you by double-tapping the direction you want him to go. This can make The Mooseman more of an auto-“runner” if you want more of a challenge to solve some of the puzzles. You can also just focus more on the surroundings and what’s going on while shifting between the dimensions as you need to. Of course, if you end up falling off a cliff or are killed by an enemy, you’ll be set back to the previous checkpoint which is represented by these totems that light up as you pass them.
As you journey further into the world you will notice that The Mooseman is extremely artistic and it’s a very intriguing game to play through. As stated before, it is a walking-sim for the most part and there’s not much action or combat. There are some brief moments where you get to do some other actions, such as dealing with firing an arrow or flying with a bird, but for the most part you’re just walking shifting between the real and surreal.
My only real issue with The Mooseman is not in the controls or the fact that it’s a really short title to play through, but just with understanding the meanings of some phrases. As you make it through your play through, different pieces of the folklore are told to you and translate as you reveal the sayings, which makes sense as the story progresses. However, there are other times where the language on the screen isn’t the language you had selected in the options menu and since all of the language spoken is in foreign language as well, it can be difficult to understand.
Overall, The Mooseman is an artistic and enjoyable 2D walking-sim that just has a few minor flaws holding it back and is short enough to be completed in one sitting. The environments are gorgeous to look at featuring a painterly aesthetic and the story, while hard to understand at times, gives you a surreal experience into the life of a Finnish shaman. You may only ever want to play through The Mooseman once, but it’s definitely worth experiencing just for the beauty of it all.
Reviewed on the Nintendo Switch, provided by Sometimes You