By Lex "Gaz the Dungeonmaster" Ansems on May 27, 2015

There I was, just relaxing in my dungeon, planning the demise of a fresh set of adventurers when I saw a twinkle of magic hovering in my magical glass orb. Now, although I am no stranger to magic (I mean come on, wizards and warlocks are my favorite class in D&D and not to mention we have our own magic expert: Mr. Magic Mike) this particular brand of magic was new to me. It was unlike anything I personally had seen or felt before. Naturally, this made me curious, so I set up an investigation. Was the magic flashy? was it cute? or could it just be a downer? Well, there's nothing for it, I'll just have to dive in and experience it for myself. So join me as I play Tobari and the Night of the Curious Moon.

So, first off, let's talk about the story. To be completely honest, I have absolutely no idea what the story is or where it is supposed to lead, and the game doesn't explain it to you either, so here is what I've deduced so far: you are Tobari, a girl who can perform magic, and you are looking for... well, someone or something. And that's about it for me... I've got nothing left. What I do know, on the other hand, is that the game is based on a older PS2 game called Pure Pure Mimi to Shippo no Monogatari; a visual novel game that started in Japan but was later ported worldwide. If you'd like to learn about the plot of the game, just do as I did... visit its Wikipedia page.

But let's move on to the gameplay portion of Tobari and the Night of the Curious Moon. Essentially, it's a puzzle platformer; you walk through the world while jumping on platforms and killing enemies with your magical Keystaff. If you don't have any special magic you can absorb the magic of a foe by hitting them with your magic wand. I cannot help but feel that this game is the result of Kirby and Sailor Moon getting really drunk one night and having a wild one-night stand. Nine months later... "Congratulations, it's a purple eyed girl with a huge magic wand!". But seriously, the platforming gameplay, the absorbing of the power of your enemies and even the enemies themselves are somewhat reminiscent of Kirby games.

My pet peeve about this game are the controls; I always thought the widespread standard keys for selecting a menu option are the space or enter key. Tobari however, has taken it upon itself to bind this action to the 'Z' key. If you're thinking: 'Wow, that makes no sense whatsoever!', then hold on to your hats. The rest of the in-game action, like: jumping, switching magic, dropping magic and using magic are bound to the... are you sitting down?... X,C,B and A key! Not only is this the control-scheme from hell, it also doesn't get explained in-game. So I had to plug in my controller, go to the options menu and check the key binding before I could even start playing.

And last but not least, before we reach the final verdict, a look at the visuals of the game. As I've said before the game looks like the offspring of Kirby and Sailor Moon. Among the enemies you encounter and fight are: fluffy bunnies, squirrels on brooms and boxing kangaroo's. So more or less like the wacky and weird enemies you encounter in Kirby games. The main protagonist, Tobari, and other characters you encounter typical Japanese art-style girls and look similar to characters from Sailor Moon. Now, don't think this is a bad thing. On the contrary: Tobari and the Night of the Curious Moon looks great! Its graphics are simple, but nice and crisp. The game also features a soundtrack to match; upbeat, fast and exciting. It sometimes kind of reminds me of the KH battle music, which is a big plus in my book.

Final Verdict
Although it is an somewhat older game, Tobari and the Night of the Curious Moon is a great puzzle-platform game with a great overall vibe. The music, graphics and gameplay are all great. Really, the only complaint I have about the game is a lack of information; no story explanation and no decent control tutorial. But honestly, this doesn't even begin to compare to the fun there is to be had when playing this great game, so don't let it stop you from buying and playing Tobari and the Night of the Curious Moon. Right! Minions, line up in front of me. I am dying to try out my magic-wand-whacking-technique!

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August 11, 2015