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Driftmoon on Steam

MSRP: $14.99

Platform: Windows

Release: 2/26/13

Driftmoon is an ARPG of a different color – in this case, the A stands for adventure, not action. This is not a game you play to feel powerful, or for all the amazing loot (spoiler: there isn’t much in the way of loot).  You play it to be charmed, to go on a journey, to get lost in its world.

Character customization is minimal – in fact, other than giving your male player character a name, the game asks nothing from you. There are four difficulty levels, and there are no achievements tied to playing on a higher difficulty level.  Combat is probably the weakest part of this game, so it’s likely to be most enjoyable at a lower difficulty.  There is some light crafting, some puzzles, and a whole lot of reading you’ll need to do.

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In the earliest moments, I wasn’t sure if I was going to care for Driftmoon.  The camera angle is odd, and the conversational choices you make don’t seem to be impactful – I don’t believe it’s possible to say the wrong thing and lock yourself out of important game options later on down the line. Combat is click-to-stab, although as you level up, you can choose abilities to make it somewhat more interesting.

But the moment Driftmoon sucked me in, when I realize that this game was just goofy enough that I had to see it through is when I rescued a pirate crab.  Then, the game gave me karma for it. I don’t even know why I want karma, but now I do. I want lots of it.  And as a bonus? Rescuing the pirate crab turned out to be the key to a very early puzzle.

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If you’re at all familiar with adventure games, the puzzles aren’t going to seem all that hard, even if you don’t stumble over the solutions before discovering the puzzle, like I did more than once.  If you only play more traditional RPGs, the puzzles may feel like frustrating speed bumps. In a way they are, they’re there to slow you down, to make sure you’re really taking a good look at your surroundings.

If you’re a die hard hack-n-slasher, you probably want to give Driftmoon a pass, but I can’t wait to spend more time in this odd little world.  The estimated play time of the base game is about 15 hours (which puts it right on that optimal $1/entertainment hour mark), but the game was also created with nearly seamless mod support, so there’s more to do after the big bad is vanquished.*

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*I’m assuming there’s a big bad. I mean, isn’t there always?

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