Rogue-lite games have seen a surge in popularity in recent years, especially within the sphere of indie development. Moonlighter is no different, and it’s a popular indie title within the genre. The basic formula of a Rogue-lite consists of “runs” that are extremely difficult. Permadeath is a key part of the formula, as these challenging dungeons aren’t meant to be overcome the first time around. So, the idea is start a run, die, and to use the bonuses from that run to gradually improve your character for the next run. Those bonuses (along with becoming a better player over time) allow the player to progress further into the challenging, procedurally generated levels that make up the meat of a game like Moonlighter. While this is a genre born outside of the mobile platform, developers are starting to realize that this format is perfect for mobile gaming.
Moonlighter is coming to Android.
It’s a Rogue-lite game that has a bit more focus on what happens outside of those runs. Moonlighter puts you in the role of a merchant, one that moonlights as a dungeon-crawling hero. Selling the items looted from runs is how he’s able to make a living. It’s a fun twist on the formula. Some may remember that developer Digital Sun Games announced that Moonlighter was coming to mobile last year. Digital Sun has been quiet since the announcement last year. Until yesterday. During the Guerrilla Collective event, Digital Sun Games re-announced the mobile version of Moonlighter.
During said event we finally got a look at how the mobile version looks and plays. Digital Sun Games’ CEO Javi Giménez said that the team has, “… rebuilt it to feel like a native mobile experience.” The team has entirely revamped the control scheme so they can keep a balanced challenge, rather than just shoehorning in twin stick controls and shipping the game.
Unfortunately, Giménez would only say that the release date is later this year. However, after seeing new gameplay, it seems likely Digital Sun Games will hit their release window this time. We can only hope this sets a precedent for how developers port their games to the mobile platform. With a nuanced, difficult game like Moonlighter, getting solid controls seems worth the wait. Until then, Dead Cells is another Rogue-lite game that shows how good a mobile port can be. You can check out our Dead Cells review here.