Mo: Astray, more like give me more More Astray! Ok, since I got the pun over with, I did find the game really enjoyable. The story of MO: Astray is interesting and I won’t spoil anything here. You play as a cute little blue blob named Mo and need to make your way through a futuristic facility that must have been cutting edge at the time, but has long since fallen into ruin It’s overrun by both horrific mutants and humanoids referred to as inhabitants. As you go through the game, you collect memory fragments of the voice, which fills in the backstory of the disastrous experiments that led to the world that you’re now navigating.
You cannot directly attack enemies and cannot even defeat them until you gain the dash ability. You are able to read their memories when you are on their head as well as control their movements and interact with a few objects. Using this, you learn about the disaster that struck the tower and about the research that was being done there. There are even points where you need to control an enemy to solve a puzzle and they can still die, however, the game will spawn a new enemy so you do not get soft locked. I did run into an annoying glitch, for lack of a better term, where I would start reading an enemies mind as an attack was about to hit me, knocking me off their head. The game would pause and the memory would pop up, but I would have no way to get out other than restarting it from the home menu. Luckily, the game loads within a couple seconds and the checkpoints are plentiful and forgiving, at least on normal difficulty.
You also gain more lore when you find these blobs of blue goo hidden around the levels. They offer information on what was going on before and during the fall of the tower. Plus, finding 5 of them gives you an extra hit and all of them will give you the good ending. Since the boss fights can get fairly intense, the more health you have the better.
I can only imagine what the final few boss fights are like on Adventure or even the new Disaster mode, which is luckily included with the Switch game that is releasing the same day as the Steam Update, giving PC users the new difficulty setting. The Switch version even gives access to the new Speedrun mode as well, so after you beat the game you can test your skills and try to get the fastest time possible. I am unaware if the Switch Users will be able to enter in the Speedrun competition. I assume if you had a way of recording your entire play through you could. The Steam page says nothing more specific than “Record a video of you beating the game.”
As for the mechanics of the game you use the right analog stick to choose a direction and “draw” a line for power, then fling yourself with the left bumper or trigger. Eventually you can do that in the air for a double jump as well as course change, and later on you can use the right bumper/trigger for a dash that has extra range and can decapitate enemies. There is even an option to inverse the right joystick. I do feel that a mouse would probably make it a bit easier since you would have a bit more control over the power of your jumps, but after getting the double jump I was able to correct most mistakes and going full power while adjusting the angle allowed me to get through most areas anyway.
Continuing on with the more technical aspects of the game, it does run smooth most of the time. I did notice a few hiccups late into the game for no apparent reason. I was in a hallway and just experienced lag for a second or two and then it was fine. It did not happen often though, so it didn’t have an effect on me. Other than that the only other issue I had was having to restart after being knocked off an enemy when reading their memories.
Graphic-wise, MO: Astray looks really nice. I am not usually a fan of the pixel art style but there is plenty of detail and a wide variety of color and area variations that it really sucked me in. When combined with the music and the limited but excellent voice acting, it’s just the whole package. You are guided through the game by a body-less voice, and while she does not actually say much, it just added to the emotion of what was being said in the subtitles for me. To complete the triple threat, the soundtrack is fantastic. MO: Astray just comes together to create something truly memorable.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Mo: Astray. It is not overly long, with my run clocking in at a bit over 10 hours, though I am not the greatest at platforming. With an interesting story, addictive gameplay, charming visuals, and fantastic audio this game is WELL worth the price. Add to that the fast loading times and a chapter select that breaks the game into manageable chunks and Mo: Astray is a must-have on the Switch. – TS
MO: Astray is available Sept 10th, 2020 for Nintendo Switch. It’s already available on Steam.
Nintendo Switch review code provided by Stride PR