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Space Moth: Lunar Edition – Review

1CC have now created a couple of great retro shmups (shoot em ups). With Star Hunter DX impressing me last year, Space Moth received an update to Lunar Edition towards the end of 2021 for consoles and PC. It is a tightly wound and short experience but it again shows off 1CC’s credentials for making very playable and challenging shmups that ease you in and then whoop your but..

Boss battles are very intense but the excellent controls, collision detection and mechanics make it a joy to play.

With two ships to choose from, its less around your craft that pulls you in – its the weapon system. You have a traditional bullet spray as a primary attack for all of the insect styled enemies you need to kill and survive. Doing this will kill the smaller fry but bullets are weaker than your lazer attack. It’s just your lazer attack is narrow and thin. You can flip between the two, having bombs to clear the screen as you go of bullets too. The scoring system is tied to the weapons though and this is where the genius of Space Moth bares fruit.

Lazers kill everything but bullets push larger enemies into a frenzied mode. When they hit this, they scream, turn a shade darker and increase their fire rate back at you. During this phase you can switch to a lazer attack and kill the enemy for a bonus and this bonus is quite large. Bullets also grow a circular barrier around your ship too, getting larger and larger the more bullets you spray. Then, during moments where the screen is full of bullets you can trigger a special move that turns all bullets inside that circle into skulls. Skulls then fill up your multiplier – thus meaning everything you shoot or lazer for bonuses is now worth so much more. You’ll want to use these circular skull skills in strategic places as it works nicely in tight bullet patterns (bosses especially) but you’ll also want to get that multiplier up. Doing so means enemies stay out longer as bullets are weaker and thus the game is way harder. I love that Space Moth becomes a player regulating difficulty level because you control the challenge and can bail out of your style if you chicken out. It’s superbly done.

Lazers are handy to kill the angry bugs if you are taking the harder but more rewarding play style.

Space Moth: Lunar Edition is shorter than Star Hunter DX but is packed with insectoids spraying bullets at you. It is a little short but the controls are fluid, the hit detection spot on and the soundtrack has a few gems sprinkled in there. My main gripe with the gameplay is that the final boss goes Zoe of the Enders on us. You don’t kill it, you just have to survive the timer against it which is a little less satisfying for a finale. Everything else is a peach though. Tate mode is included (although not the ability to have controls mapped for a side scrolling version of the game) along with scanlines, background art changes and local leaderboards for each ship. A variety of difficulty levels are available and bosses have extra phases if you increase the difficulty. You’ll always only get 3 continues too – none of this endless continues mode some others do. Skill is required.

A pure arcade dream that really engages with its scoring system, it plays beautifully and takes you on the level you are prepared to play at. High score fiends will love this, everyone else will appreciate its challenge and succinct nature to pack a memorable punch and then leave you wanting more. A fun indie shmup gem.

Space Moth: Lunar Edition
Final Thoughts
A moreish and aggressive shmup that players can approach with ultimate flexibility for a challenge that is tailored to their playstyle.
Two distinctive weapons that you can mix and match with to alter your personal challenge.
Feels tight and responsive.
Lots of hidden depth with the scoring system for those that want to chase high scores.
Tate and scanline options for those wanting to play with graphics and not a speck of slowdown throughout.
Somewhat short with a strange ending.
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