Moonstone: A Hard Days Knight is difficult to pin down because it plays so much like a board game. It’s based on a hotseat model where each participant (whether AI or human) makes a single move before handing off the controls to the next player. This sort of multiplayer format has mostly been phased out in videogames, but asynchronous games are making a huge comeback on social sites like Facebook, so I figured it was worth a mention.
- Moonstone can be played solo, but supports up to 4 individual players who start off with 5 lives each.
- The world map paths are entirely predefined, but the events at each stop are randomized.
- City stops and enchanted places provide the player with unique services. This encourages the player to explore them all in order to gain as many boons as possible. These boons include buying and selling magical items, gambling for gold, purchasing stats upgrades, and healing. Some of these stops can also curse the player creating a risk/reward system.
- Aside from the shops and unique story locations, most other stops initiate some sort of a real time battle. If the player is victorious, he receives a reward in the form of gold/items/magical keys.
- Fighting other players is automatically initiated when two players land on the same spot. The victor gains all of the loser’s inventory, including his key(s) which are necessary to complete the game, so quite a bit of back-‘n’-forth naturally takes place between all the participants.
- Battles are split into one-on-one encounters, a series of one-on-one encounters, or group fights that force the player to simultaneously combat multiple opponents. All battles are quite gory and serve as a reward in themselves as they contain lots of unique animations and fatalities that predate Mortal Kombat’s (although other games like Barbarian also predate Moonstone on that end).
- Adding another random element to the game is a dragon that can appear on the world map. The dragon is a tough foe and will randomly swoop down to attack players regardless of their current location.