Simple yet functional gameplay
I do not like when the word experience comes to a video game, I do not think I mean a lot and I think it’s rather a loophole when you do not know what to really say about the title in question. With The Mooseman , however, are forced to break the rule, because I do not think there is a better term for describing Beletsky and Shvachko’s work, more experience than a real game, a journey to the roots of
history when the myth served as a foundation and explanation for everything that surrounds man, an infinitesimal being in front of the power of nature, especially the cruel and stepmother of the frozen steaks and constantly cut by the wind . However, this experience has to be described, and is more or less the same as you would listen to Völuspá of the Wardruna or Ótroðinn in the middle of a forest made of high fir trees in the northern lands, on a morning when the mist rising from the bottom and covering and wadding the steps, in short, something really difficult to put black on w
hite and therefore it is perhaps best to begin by describing the only element to be analyzed in an almost objective way, namely the gameplay. The Mooseman is a slim 2D horizontal slider adventure in which the player is dressed in the name of Moosema
n (man-elk?), The shamman of the Chud tribe or of the Ciudad, a pagan and nomadic populace set up between Russia, Estonia and Finland from the 9th century AD Looking at the mechanics of the game, The Moosemanit is a very simplified work and the commands are connected to a handful of keys: with the directional arrows you guide the shaman, almost all actions are carried out only by pressing the spacebar or the X key, but the odd thing is that the title is virtually impossible to play with a pad, I did this but I immediately quit when I noticed the absence of command opti
ons and that no menus were opened with the start button. The Moosemanit is first of all exploration: the world, indeed, the three worlds that are visited during the adventure are by no means pitiless and to overcome the puzzles and enemies along the way you have to rely on the powers of the shaman, its ability to see it which is concealed in the eyes of the simple mortals. By pressing the space bar, you enter and exit this parallel dimension, and by exploiting the differences between the two re
alities, you freed the passages, you notice the enemy spirits, or even move small mountains that suddenly become all of a sudden of snakes. As a whole, The Mooseman it’s not a complicated game, just a few steps like the one underwater where you have to be hidden i
n the eyes of Vakul require a slightly more sustained effort than thought and the adventure can be accomplished without too much trouble in a couple of hours scarce, a bit more looking for all the collectable ones, however, it’s more than enough time to fall in love with the work.
A journey into the soul of a people
Reduce The Moosemanat a simple video game is the worst mistake you can do, it would mean ignoring all the work, all the love Beletsky and Shvachko have to tell about the history of ancient populations, all their manic care to make their work an interactive book capable of bringing to life the myths, legends and divinities almost forgotten from modern times, because every ele
ment of play, the same mechanics, have this precise task and everything has been studied and inserted to tell a bit about this story . Take for example checkpoints, used not only in the way we all know, but also exploited to bring about all of the Ugrian-Finnish mythology, the conception of world creation, the division between the world of the dead, the intermediate one where the men live , and the third, the upper one in which deities dwell or, moreover, the concept of cyclicity of life, linked to
the birth and death of the sun and the alternation of seasons. In short, in these two hours I learned the names of Yen, the main deity of the tribe pantheon of the Komi tribes, of Osh, the bear guarded by the world of the dead, of Shondi, the six-legged moon, the impersonation of the sun and killed by Yen in person, and I met Yoma the witch that in the form of a bird brings misfo
rtune among men. The most interesting thing, however, was to find out the similarities between the myths closest to us, such as the eastern and Greek ones, and the pagan beliefs of the northern peoples, for example the perfect overlap between our “river” Styxes and the Sir-Yu, obligatory passage for the underworld or, again, the importance of the number seven, like the Yen children who taught men to hunt and who carry fire every day to the world of the living. The street beaten by the shama
n is also dotted with collectable hidden, precisely the real ones works of art preserved at the archaeological museum of Perm, bronze representing animals and anthropomorphic beings, where men, swans, moose and donkeys merge and become the subjects of these small masterpieces.
The Mooseman is, in short, the best course of anthropology that can be and not only for its disclosure purpose, but also for the atmosphere it can breathe, that connection between the real and the supernatural that permeated
the lives of nomadic tribes: If we wanted to find a fault, that something that breaks the enchanting flow of images is the fact that for access to descriptions and captions, the game must be abruptly interrupted and forced to switch between some submenus. We also point out – quite easy to imagine – that the Italian language is not one of those supported.