Moose Life review – brimming with joy

I would love to know what happens to time and space inside Moose Life. Llamasoft’s latest arcade shooter sets you between two planes – you can jump between them – while enemies advance from the horizon. The thing is: if you miss the enemies and they go past you, they soon reappear in front of you! It’s a Pac-Man wraparound, fine, but you can also move forward and back as well as from side to side? So it’s a little scrolling pocket of…now…surrounded by…?

Like Polybius, Moose Life works with or without VR, but in truth it feels like VR even if you’re playing with no headset. The rest of the world bleeds away and you’re left with this dark space filled with particles and phosphemes. The sound of the dishwasher in the background drops away to the pulsing beat. Any thought of what you’re doing later or what the weather is like outside ceases to have meaning as stars erupt and the baddies flock and scatter. It’s almost overwhelming.

Almost. You explore this strange spacetime as a moose, a moose who can fire forward as they slide back and forth and flip from floor to ceiling. Almost everything that comes your way needs to be shot, and once shot often erupts with a shower of particles and an interesting sound effect. Early on you find little playroom flu viruses bobbling towards you. They tinkle like crystal when you burst them open and they spawn copies of themselves. Some enemies change forms and become deadlier if you leave them alive for long enough. Some objects send out expanding waves of death if you shoot them, forcing you to dance from one plane to another. Now and then you get a Robotron baddie or something else from Arcade’s long, beautiful lineage. Onwards!

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