Moo Lander Review
If you are looking for a unique Metrovania experience Moo Lander brings its own charming twists to the genre, my full review.
Moo Lander is a spirited 2D action-adventure with metroidvania elements, with plenty of quirkiness that will keep you entertained. What originally piqued my interest in the game is the stunning art style, and it alone is worth the price of admission. Along with stunning visual direction, the game has a fun oddball plot, dozens of mighty cow bosses, clever puzzles, and plenty of utterly hilarious dairy references. After six years of development, The Sixth Hammer, has finally unleashed the very first "Mootrovania" on the world. Read on to find out how the bovine alien adventure stacks up in my in-depth review.
Moo Lander Details
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X and PC
Developer(s): The Sixth Hammer
Publisher(s): The Sixth Hammer
Genre: Side Scroller, Metrovania
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
Story: Cosmic Milk, Does a Civilization Good!
In Moo Landers you probably guessed, it's all about the milk. As you play through the cartoony platformer the story gets surprisingly deep, albeit very weird. It centres around two competing ancient civilizations: The Landers and The Anunnaki. The two live in peace at first but as their societies rapidly advance thanks to the advanced properties of "cosmic milk" they come into conflict.
This leads to the "The Great Milk Wars" where all cows accidentally get neutralized and both civilizations are now in peril without the precious resource. There is a rumour of a device that supplies an infinite amount of milk in the galaxy...
Your task as an elite Lander soldier is to find the mythical milk-generating machine in order to preserve civilization from oblivion.
Graphics: A Moo-sterpiece in motion
The graphics in Moo Lander are colorful and vibrant, and the overall art style is quite stunning. The game is set in a 2D side-scrolling environment but with 3D characters. The hand drawn aesthetic has to be one of my favourite elements of the game. This gives Moo Lander a unique look, and it's one of the things that first caught my attention about the title. Check out the environments in motion here:
Moo Lander is a real beauty to behold in motion, and I was thoroughly impressed with how well everything ran on PlayStation 5. The closest game I can equate its visuals to is Rayman Legends, and that's high praise considering it's one of my favourite platforms of all-time.
The game's audio and sound design are also great with a handful of original tracks. At times the background audio did cutout but was fixed with a reset of the game. Overall, the visual and auditory package checks all the boxes for me, with the art direction stealing the show.
Gameplay: A Bovine Metroidvania Treat
Moo Lander is a 2D action platformer that mixes metroidvania elements along with 2-D side scroller shooting, and it's an utter blast to play. It follows many Metroidvania tropes like secret areas, and abilities that allow you to progress against tougher enemies. What makes it more unique than others in the genre is that you are floating around in a ship, so there is no running or jumping required.
The game is set in a linear world, but you have a little freedom to explore at your own pace.
There are plenty of secrets to find, and the game encourages exploration with its many hidden areas.
The bosses are all unique, and they require different strategies to defeat. There are over 20 cow species from "Mrs. Lava" a molten fire cow to "The Ice Queen" with bone chilling frosty attacks. I won't spoil any more of them here, but suffice to say, they're all very memorable encounters of the hooven kind.
An unexpected surprise with Moo Lander is the included multiplayer modes that change up the formula. There are four different modes of up to 4-player couch co-op multiplayer games, here is one:
Cow vs Lander – Epic versus battle where you fight with a Cow vs. a Lander with 2-4 players
Landers vs AI Cow – Up to 2 players can try and defeat the near unbeatable mighty AI cow.
Galactic Mooball – Play Football with Cows and Landers with up to 2-4 players
Survive the waves – An endless battle against swarms of enemies that will test your survival skills in the 1 - 4 player mode.
I did get a kick out of all of them, the learning curve can be a little steep if you haven't played the single player mode. Overall, I really enjoyed "Galactic Mooball" and the inclusion of the multiplayer component really added to the replayability.
Moo Lander PROS
+The graphics look incredible, raise the bar for indie titles overall
+The selection of original audio and sci-fi fx is great
+Ship skins add a new ripple to gameplay
+Oddball story plays well with the zany universe
+Couch co-op multiplayer is a fun, unexpected addition
Moo Lander CONS
-Controls can be a little unresponsive
-Audio drops at times
-Lack of directional cues can hamper the overall experience
Overall Rating: 29.5/40 (74%)
A copy of the game was provided by the developer, The Sixth Hammer, for the purpose of this review.