Sawbuck Gamer

Moonlight

Fishing For Radiance

It’s just you and your thoughts in the peaceful Moonlight.

By Derrick Sanskrit • August 30, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

For generations, men and man sympathizers have relied on the simple act of fishing—sitting silently in a boat, floating on the water, alone with their thoughts—as a form of therapy. Relaxing and peaceful, it’s the original form of self-medication. This sense is often lost in video game representations of fishing, though, as such games tend to be goal-oriented and (at least theoretically) action-packed. Moonlight solves this problem, counter-intuitively enough, by more closely resembling a familiar arcade experience. The result is less “fishing” and more “bioluminescent pachinko.”

There’s a score, and there are achievements. These are typically signifiers of competition, yet there is no great compulsion to “beat” anyone in a game of Moonlight. There is no change to the landscape if you score especially well, nor is there any shame in failure. You’re only playing against yourself and your own expectations. This is, perhaps, the most emotionally accurate representation of fishing in video games to date. Best of all, it doesn’t take more than a couple minutes of your day, and you don’t smell like fish when you’re done.

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337 Responses to “Fishing For Radiance”

  1. What’s YOUR aquatic-based non-competing game?  Mine’s playing Anno 2070 (or one of its predecessors) in continuous mode with no AI enemies.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      That is an exercise in patience… After having 30 farms for green tea, I sort of wanted to pour toxic sludge over the entire island…
      Are the industrialists easier in the long run?

      • Depending on your population, you shouldn’t need 30 of those…  Upgrade your citizens!

        The equivalent of tea for industrialists is some kind of rice-based liquor, if that’s your bag.

  2. Merve says:

    It’s very pretty for a browser game, and the music is nice. Good work, Almakos.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       It just needs more than two levels and more than one music track.  Otherwise, it’s got the gameplay locked down pretty well.  It’s an early version, so perhaps we’ll see another version down the road.

  3. Chris Holly says:

    Well, that’s just a charming little slice of tranquility. Well done!

  4. Nopad says:

    For everyone else completely missing the point of the game, you can consistently get an extra lantern by bouncing it off the top fish. If you go as far right as possible and drop right when the top fish passes the cobbled arch in the background, it should bounce the last lantern right as it turns, sending it straight up.