Moonlighter – Do a Run for Treasure and Then Sell It

The game Moonlighter is a combination rogue-lite dungeon-crawler mixed with trade simulation and story-rich RPG elements. This timeless, beautifully rendered pixel top-down was released by Digital Sun in 2018, and is available on most platforms such as PC, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch and even mobile.

Moonlighter is a story about hopeful adventurer Will, a shopkeeper in the small commercial town of Rynoka. Although his family’s shop offers stability and prosperity, it is sustained by the materials found deep in dungeons accessed through gates outside the village. Every night after the shop closes, Will skulks into the darkness to descend into the dungeons before teleporting back with a satchel of goods and the magical necklace that allows him to do so. The more he adventures though, the more he wants to pursue the question of what the dungeons and gates are exactly. When he uncovers a map of the interconnecting nature of the five gates, an adventure begins.

Getting Started in Moonlighter

There are a few things surely endearing to Moonlighter. The top-down pixel graphics are highly detailed and stylized, leading to an atmospheric experience. The game is cozy and interactive. Aside from dungeons, and your shop, there is a whole town that can be explored, and characters with meaningful interaction scattered night and day through the streets. The characters are natural and expressive, although the main character does not speak much. And though the dungeons offer re-generating challenges, they are fluid and add choices that matter to the other elements in the game. Such your experience might be, say discovering a book about Golems hidden in a pit just happened to fall into.
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Traditionally, rogue-lites or re-generating RPGs have a hook of sorts. The hook in Moonlighter is the combination of a dungeon crawler with a shopkeeping sim. Yet, neither are depreciative of the other element, leading to some pretty fulfilling holistic in-game commerce motivation. The complexity of the game’s shopkeeping interface allows you to gather and merchandise according to information provided by experimentation and exploration. Customers are real customers, and they even offer expression-filled thought bubbles as they react to your pricing–either a smile or a frown, which lets you know to change the price accordingly or leave it how it is. Record-keeping allows automatic storage of past pricing from materials gathered while moonlighting in the dungeons.

Comparative Games

You may remember a Nintendo game from the 90’s called Earthbound, also known as Mother. Earthbound has similarities to Moonlighter, for one stylistically, though some have compared Moonlighter more to the game Stardew Valley, which I agree with–when not slaying golems that is. Moonlighter is neatly packaged and presented, but it is by no means simple. With the incentive to do so, time can be continuously deluged into shopkeeping, crafting, gaining companions, collecting epic loot, or even getting to know neighbors. It’s sort of like a single-player, indie, MMO in that way–also a great source of replayability and nuanced gameplay.

Features of Moonlighter

Here are some top features of the world of Moonlighter

  • Dungeon-crawling
  • Combat and Swordplay
  • Shopkeeping Trade-Sim
  • Character Interaction
  • Crafting Armor and Enchantments
  • Collecting Loot and Selling it
  • Gaining Companions
  • Achievements
  • Story-Progression

My Take

This game is from 2018. Quality doesn’t seem to have diminished in Moonlighter. The detailed pixel art graphics are phenomenal in Moonlighter. It’s always encouraging in games to have a way to either start over and or just go back somewhere safe. Some call it lazy, I call it cozy.

The trade simulation element sof this game are amazing. How do they make customers gauge the value of a random mob junk in my shop. How? Coding I guess, but it is super immersive. Trade-sims are the best way to experiment with an economy, without actually using money.

It’s sort of stunning to me that Digital Sun has not released or projected any new games since the release of Moonlighter. There is certainly no absence of talent or innovation. Hard to say though. Either way, I applaud them for creating this really neat game with the bold notion of seeing the connection between a cozy trade-sim idea and a fun pixel art dungeon-crawler. It has endless replay value, although a DLC whenever or new release could be alot of fun too. Great to see such a humble production leave a bright legacy amongst indie fans, and a great example for devs to come.

Hold Down A to Close the Review

That’s what I have for you on Moonlighter. Just kinda plucked this one out of a stack, knowing that it was well praised, but in need of some research. If you would like to purchase this game, I have provided a link below that will supports new content.

Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. We have lots to come, and lots to share already, so have a look around, and please come back!

Good Pizza, Great Pizza – Wholesome Pizzeria Simulator – Review

In the Fall of 2020 when I was just launching the Mr. Dave Pizza concept, I played Good Pizza, Great Pizza by Tapblaze on an Android tablet, one of the many formats this game is available on. Today I played the official version released for Nintendo Switch to go back and really see what amused me about this game. Pizza, the food, has always been pretty popular, but in the last five years, it’s developed a near cult status. It’s kind of weird honestly, but it’s spun some pretty creative and entertaining ideas. So, after so much traffic from google here by indie-game-playing pizza lovers and truffle fast food cravers, I am issuing an inaugural validation of Good Pizza, Great Pizza as one of my favorite pizza-themed indie games of all time. At least that I’ve played–I’ll get to you, Freddy.

Platforms: PC, Switch, Android, Apple, Amazon

Good Pizza, Great Pizza: Greetings Ovenist

The game is generally inexpensive for versions without ads, although there are free versions on mobile with ads. Moving past that, the game works fine with a controller on Switch and presumably PC, and depending on which platform you use, it is possible to use the touchscreen as well (including on Switch.)

Now, let’s talk about the gameplay. Good Pizza, Great Pizza is a pizzeria simulator that puts you in the role of “ovenist,” order-taker, pizza maker, and entrepreneur at a cozy pinkish restaurant in a busy neighborhood across the street from the comic-relief bad guy competition named “Alicante.” Each day you start off a new business cycle, and customers drop in from off the street to order whatever pizza you can make them.

It is always possible to make what they request, but whether you pull it off is a different story. Alicante will drop in at the beginning of every shift to challenge you and discourage you from continuing. He’s the type of bad guy who accidentally compliments you wholeheartedly when you succeed or simply makes you laugh either way, so he’s not all that bad really, but you better heed his warnings.

Customers tend to exude certain customer varieties from a real pizzeria, and almost always phrase things in a way you have to listen to–or read actually–in order to complete their order. They say things like truffle cut in quarters or one-half of four pepperonis. It doesn’t sound too complicated, but it is very challenging at times. And when you mess up once, it can turn the flow of the whole pizzeria into a complete catastrophe. It’s not the end and you will get better, but you might half to improve your focus. Getting your timing right is everything.

Other Things in Good Pizza, Great Pizza

This game does not mess around. Okay, it messes around all the time. But if playing a wholesome pleasant pizzeria is your thing, Good Pizza, Great Pizza goes to town. Some features include a narrative story arc of four chapters that take you from a small neighborhood pizzeria to a big-time pizzeria celebrity.

In addition to that, there are several characters with individual personalities and dialogue, including the previously mentioned Alicante–but also cute, funny, strange, and humbling. Most of the dialogue is downright hilarious or just so weird it is charming. Not every customer is totally polite, but if you make their order right be expectant of delight in their response.

There are tons of new ingredients to add to your inventory, customer area upgrades, plus equipment upgrades. And there is even an achievement system that you can use to earn coins and compete online. Wow, this is pretty much the best pizzeria game I’ve ever seen. Most games of any genre don’t even have half of this much content to unlock. And you’ll find no disappointment in the quality of these really, because not only will you have the upgrades, it will totally change how your customers interact.

A Recommended Game

And at the apex of that very thrilling description, that’s pretty much it. Talk to customers, make their orders, and buy things. I may return to this if I really get serious about playing all the way through the story. After playing and researching for a few hours mixed with my previous experience, that’s the gist of this.

So, I hope you’re out there, you pizza seekers and hobbyists, because I am, and this pizzeria is just getting started. I hope this satisfied your search for whatever you were looking for.

This game is pretty much for everybody. The content is quite wholesome and if you can keep up with the orders there are some huge rewards for enjoying Good Pizza, Great Pizza. This one has been in Mr. Dave Pizza’s own oven for some time, and we’re glad to finally bring it to your tablet.

If you enjoy this, please come back, have a look around, leave a comment, and check out our social media. Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. Take care.

πŸ”½ If you’d like to download this game, here are official links to where it can be downloaded on various platforms.

πŸ€–Android

🍎Apple App Store:

πŸ„Nintendo Switch

πŸ’½Steam (PC)

πŸ”₯Amazon

OPUS Rocket of Whispers – This Is So Intelligent

Mysterious backstory, cosmic balance, ancestral duty. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Heavy topics, yes, but not to worry. This game is poetry, and these types of themes are in the prequel OPUS: The Day We Found Earth. It seems that there is even a theme in common between that game and OPUS Rocket of Whispers, but I am hesitant to say, conclusively, what it is.

I’ll give you a quick background on this game. It takes place somewhere that may be Earth or possibly a blue equivalent. You play two characters. Alternating as the story sees fit, John, a survivalist rocket part scavenger, and Fei, the rocket constructing witch and emotional support to John.

The title “witch” is not thrown around loosely like a support class, this is a title given to the shamanistic mystics that play a super important part in the story. Most of it is clear in the first 5 minutes, but it is thematically complex. Also, it has occurred to me that this is not really a game for all audiences. Some of the themes, although not rude, are a bit mature like John’s background. If you’re cool with that, then read on.

Genius Loci

Gameplay

Genius Loci, which means spirit of place in Latin. Fei and John’s world has a thick heavy fog of spirits and spirits who inhabit it. This is crucial to understanding the game. While making a rocket sounds like a nice escape scenario for a barren world, it’s actually project of Fei and John’s attempt to honor the tradition of their fallen civilization. This is a ritual known as “Space Burial.” It’s a rather sweet sentiment for a game story that’s given a courteous comfort zone. This doesn’t surprise me given my experiences with The Day We Found Earth. What I mean by that, of course, is that there are equal amounts of gameplay juxtaposed with backstory and the current plot–not just one long cutscene.

“Space Burial” is something spirits of these planets have had for decades. Because of the state of things, spirit inhabitants scatter throughout the land waiting for their passage into the cosmos via a rocket. Something which is the domain of “witches” from the “Church of Earthology” before the plague.

Spring Ahead in OPUS Rocket of Whispers

Here, 25 years into the future, these two characters face odd obstacles of mathematical equations, part acquirement, and John’s terribly debilitating condition of being able to hear the cries of spirits. It’s not really creepy or anything. John’s disposition is a bit troubled, but it lifts at times. I played this game for quite a bit and I did not encounter anything too disturbing. Warning though, some of the background story in OPUS Rocket of Whispers covered by the cut scenes is rather emotional.

OPUS Rocket of Whispers

John was a happy-go-lucky kid that now has to deal with a troubled past. He’s actually rather pleased when he’s not in grief though, even towards the beginning. Fei chides him for his cynicism though and the two banter in a rather melancholic way.

Gameplay in OPUS Rocket of Whispers

OPUS Rocket of Whispers

Okay, that’s enough story outline. What’s the gameplay here? Well, most of it involves a combination of actual mechanical necessity and some of it involves misdirection or more story unveiling. You’ll wander through a pixel art top-down map of your outdoor surroundings and things hidden within the general vicinity of the rocket workshop. It’s a humble environment but aesthetically pleasing.

The game’s progress requires some puzzles for collecting objects. Fairly soon, the spirits guide you to collection areas like workshop roofs and blocked ritual areas. This makes things a lot easier and also engaging. I found the quest tasks like making metal cutters or boots a challenge to me in the right ways. The ability to go anywhere new becomes encouraging because most of the story is usually in relatively close quarters.

The Emotional Message

OPUS Rocket of Whispers has pretty good intentions. The free mobile version of the game ends in terms of length and content just about as long as The Day We Found Earth. If you purchase it, either on the console or after playing for free on mobile platforms, there are about 3 more hours of gameplay with the purchased version.

OPUS Rocket of Whispers

I recognize in Fei and John something I’ve seen in myself. A friendly, but necessary banter, something or somebody that keeps you strong knowingly even though it is a struggle. A nudge to stay alert. It’s a genuine survival method, although I’m not even sure that’s it either. Personally, I’m satisfied with that level of uncertainty.

There are certain themes in life that exist continuously in the human spirit. This game fills the void of purpose in a purposeless environment. First, it’s space, then it’s civilization, then it’s humanity. Or maybe the other way around. Each one is disintegrated and sometimes rebounds regularly to keep us strong. That’s my opinion anyway. You might recognize the concept.

For Posterity

I really was hesitant to try this game, because the first one was so good. I guess I wasn’t sure if it could be repeated. It made me feel something that I haven’t felt that often though. I recently paid a visit to the developer’s website, and I’m happy to inform you that they have announced the third game in the series to be released this year called OPUS: Echo of Starsong. It looks just as emotionally complex as its predecessors, and I eagerly anticipate the wait.

Also, one other thing. The soundtrack on this is amazing. It sets an ambiance that I felt in the first OPUS. Very instrumental and relaxed. It is listenable on Bandcamp at this link if you are searching for it.

If you enjoyed this, feel free to visit other articles and topics on this site. You can find more posts by either using the menu at the top or by visiting the main page MrDavePizza.com for recent posts. You can also follow me on Twitter at @MrDavePizza.com

Pinball Games: Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!

Remember pinball? Not only remember it but are a “pinball wizard” as it were? Well, here we go again. Today I’m going to share a game that is available on both the Mobile and PC platforms. The game is Pinball Deluxe: Reloaded. There is also apparently some background with Blackberry devices long before that for this publisher, but I don’t know much about that.

Before this post, I tried to load up an Android emulator to see if I could try the Google Play version on my Windows machine, but it didn’t really work and it was easier to just download it to my smartphone. Here is trailer though.

What Videogame Pinball looks like

The machines in Pinball Deluxe are very aesthetic and a product of attention to detail, which gives a really enjoyable and, I suppose you could say, realistic experience. Pinball is little know loveof mine for simultaneously being “relaxing” yet engaging as a game type, because once you get into it, it is all about you and the machine, digital or not, everything else goes hush.

While I do like–okay, adore–some of the production themes out there, the generic themes on this game are still quite good. The space exploration game really engages me. There’s also a spin off old-timey skee-ball/pinball hybrid which is very pleasant.

pinball deluxe
Mod selector for unlocked table mods purchased with Tix (Pinball Deluxe: Reloaded)

Another cool feature of this game is the ability to unlock mods using something called the “TIX” system. It gets really old school there, it’s reminiscent of an old school nickel-arcade. Oh and hey, that’s another thing, you can play as long as you want here! For free! It is easy to activate the mods once you’ve got some TIX. The boosters unique to the theme of the machine with little logos, and they have unique features.

Quick jump to high score after mods purchased with in-game currency (TIX)

Bonus functionality

With the mods, I now have the high score on the Space Frontier machine. Suspension of disbelief here, but wahoo! The more ding ding, light flashing, kerchunks I can get, the happier I’ll be. I really have to emphasize how much fun this is to play without the quarter nags every few minutes. Yes, I understand it is more traditional to play coin-op machines, but free play arcades are very popular too. Also, who’s spending quarters on pinball machines when they are as scarce as purple bananas unless you spend a lot of time at the laundromat? No judgement.

Here is a screenshot of the purchase store on the Android mobile version.

Anyway, let me re-focus, what’s cool about the TIX system is it gives the player motivation to keep going. For unlocks on the mobile app, such as machine, a small purchase equivalent to the Steam price is necessary or you can purchase one game at a time, although you might as well just purchase them. No pressure though, there is plenty of content to mess around and make up your own mind.

The high scores are fake at first. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’m a hermit, didn’t I tell you? Really though, although the high score system is necessary for authenticity of many games, once anything goes high score on the internet (in my experience) there is usually some trophy award for some annoying cheater, who impossibly scored a one hundred bazillion point score. My point being, this is not really necessary here. I know real pinball aficionados too though, and sometimes one hundred bazillion is a walk in the park. “We’re not worthy!” ~Wayne and Garth, Wayne’s World.

pinball deluxe reloaded
Pinball Deluxe: Reloaded selection screen. A modest but classic array of options.

Zen and the art of Pinball Reloaded

I love how much time I can take with this game and not feel overloaded, because it is just so chill. Stress has no rhyme or reason though, so if pinball is something that stressed you out, take a breather or just move on. There is no rush here for these games. And the more zeroed in on the machine you can get, the more you’ll get that slow motion Zen with the repeating patterns.

Just for the record, some of my favorite machines are Addams Family, The Simpsons, Doctor Who (the classic), and Indian Jones. There are a lot out there. For these types of games, you can always check out some of the pinball selections in Steam. These games are also nice for real pinball wizards who are taking a break from flooding their usual stomping grounds with quarters.

There are so many pinball games out there, I still look at one when I see it to see what theme it is, because that’s the other thing cool about pinball, it’s very pleasing to look at. For example, I think you’ll like the Wild West machine in Pinball Deluxe, because not only is it beautiful, but the background is a light stain of wood reminiscent of the face on an old guitar that somebody like Willie Nelson plays. I mean c’mon, that is perfect!

pinball wild west
Wild West machine. Awesome guitar wood background.

Last ball, new beginning

This kind of quality if all over this game though. It is amazing how many thoughts I have on this indie pinball game, and I’m so glad I have it now. Actually, there are two more titles I will cover, but I guess those will get their own as well!

If looking for a relaxing category of game without some of the iffy stuff and something you can Zen out on, grab some ‘za and play Pinball Deluxe: Reloaded. If you’re wondering if this game can live up to the legacy of the pre-install Pinball game on earlier Microsoft Windows systems, it is up there, with its own charm to the table!

Thank you so much for reading MrDavePizza.com. I don’t write a lot about pinball but I do love it, and other games, which their are plenty of reviews from throughout the site. So have a look around! Thanks!