The Mooseman, developed by Morteshka and published by Sometimes You is a new puzzle game surrounded by the mythology of the Finno-Ugric and the Chud tribes, with folk music inspired by the Komi people. This game will take you on an incredible lore-based journey as you the Mooseman ‘shaman’ must traverse the three layers of the universe.
This new game is very heavy in mythology, and proudly represents it through idols that the player can inspect and read for further detail. While this is not ‘crucial’ for gameplay and mechanics, it provides an environmental aspect to the game to get you in the mindset of The Mooseman. The story of the three worlds or layers of the universe are depicted through these idols and text, including the Lower layer where the dead reside, the Middle layer where men reside, and the Upper layer where Gods would reside.
Without reading any of the mythology behind the game that is readily provided as you journey through, the gamer is likely to not understand the inspiration and meaningfulness behind their actions and progression in the game.
The Mooseman is a 2D adventure game, with tons of puzzles requiring the player to interact with the world. As the gamer traverses the three layers, they use what I call a “shaman vision” to go in and out of a new layer of existence where the idols glow white and ancient markings appear throughout the environment. This is where the puzzles come in, as you move the Mooseman left and right utilizing this shaman vision, he is able to overcome obstacles, move boulders, and activate switches to further his progression through the layers.
On the Switch version, the shaman vision is done by using the ‘A’ button, while a different deflection move is done by hitting ‘B’ later on, giving the Mooseman a way to block his enemies advances.
Another ‘collective’ element to the game is finding the hidden artifacts that require using the ‘L’ button on the Switch to see the collection. These are similar to the relic idols, and give a description about their importance and origin alongside what they are officially based off in the real world and found in museums.
Graphics and Soundtrack
One of the things that drew me in initially for The Mooseman was simply the graphics. It’s certainly an indie developed game, but it’s beautiful. As you’re playing, it simply looks like a moving painting you can interact with. There isn’t much of a color palette used, and that makes it more pure and innocent than other games which over-use their color vibrancy.
As for the soundtrack, it’s very nature inspired, which is fitting for such a mythology-based journey game. After playing through the game, one of my favorite soundtracks that was beautifully composed by developer Mikhail Shvachko was “Sacrifice to Vorsa”. For convenience, you can find the full soundtrack below, and specifically, “Sacrifice to Vorsa” at 15:40.
The Mooseman will take the gamer on a new journey to a world most-likely unfamiliar to them. Unlike other games where the world is entirely fictional, this is based off of a religious belief and mythology passed down through generations. To experience the full extent of the game, you must not only partake in the ‘action’ parts including puzzles and interacting with the environment, but you must also read and engulf the myths and lore of the Finno-Ugric and the Chud tribes. For this is the true purpose of the game, and it is most beautifully done.
If you are not into reading text on a game and enjoying this mythological journey, and prefer something more action-based I highly recommend trying To Hell With Hell by Lazurite Games and Deck 13, which can give you the indie game experience with more flashy action and fighting.
The Mooseman is currently available on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC (Steam), and Xbox One.