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Luna Bears Review

By , on January 7, 2013
Last modified 1 year, 9 months ago


Super Skyland
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5

PROS

  • Very fluid movement linked to amusing bear animations.
  • Quite tough for how simple the controls are.
  • Lots to do to perfect each level.

CONS

  • Retry button hidden in menu.
  • Sometimes with the flow forward, luck can play a part in whether you live or die.

VERDICT

Luna Bears is a very solid platformer that may have a cutesy aesthetic and premise, but is both surprisingly tough and rewarding.


  • Full Review
  • App Store Info

I posit a question. Can it still be called a platformer if the character isn't technically jumping? Luna Bears has all the hallmarks of a traditional platformer; death defying physicality, coins, stars, and other special collectibles, and even Mario Bros-esque sound effects. The thing is that Luna, the character the player controls is a star, and stars are mostly known for floating. This is exactly what Luna does... it's just that through this mechanic, there's also plenty of somersaults, flips, and running on the ceiling.

Luna controls similar to games like Tiny Wings. The star runs along the ground until you touch and hold the screen. This will begin Luna's floaty ascent to the heavens. Luckily there's a barrier at the top to stop you leaving this realm behind, but the majority of the gameplay will have you weaving around obstacles and enemies, trying to collect three stars per level, a ton of coins, and most importantly, your teddy bear that has been kidnapped by the boos and is the reason for the whole escapade in the first place.

The acrobatic feats mentioned earlier are all thanks to the animation team. Based on how you transfer between ledges of different heights, how you float around, or how you brush up against the squishy pillow-like platforms that make up each level will enact a number of different animations of Luna tumbling around like a champion. It's these and other little touches like the smooth transition between a landscape or portrait view while tilting your phone that help to immerse the player in this world.

And it is a fun world to spend time in. The cutesy designs and premise definitely appeal to a younger audience, but platforming fans would make it worth their while to give this game a look. It isn't too many levels in that things start becoming tricky, requiring precision, controlled perfection, and a little luck to make it to the end of each stage (and that's not including the skill needed to collect everything in each level). Luna Bears is one of those pleasant surprises. You're not sure what to make of the game going in, and your expectations may be low, but given a little time, it will win you over and you'll certainly be glad it did.

Screenshots

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Comments

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nagash 8 months ago

why they changed the name? Luna Bears was better

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SumoSplash 8 months ago

I ranted about this issue in the TA thread repeatedly. The name change was only half the problem; the entire theme of the character changed along with it. Luna Bears to Super Skyland and altering the appearance of the star from cute and cuddly to mean and aggressive is only to garnish wider appeal. An innocent star in search of his bear couples perfectly with the original title, but Super Skyland makes the game sound like a ride at an amusement park. To this day it remains as one of my most regretful updates, since I didn't back up the original and that Luna Bears magic is gone forever.

It is still a fantastic game--one of the best platformers iOS has to offer. However, I dearly miss the original.