The third and final chapter of the Moonwall series (originally called “The Train”) has finally arrived on the iPad, and I couldn’t wait to dig into it. I’ve always been a fan of the series thanks to its intriguing story, even though part two had a few annoyances where the game engine was concerned. This last episode seems to have fixed those issues for the most part, and continued to uphold the tradition of strong story and some challenging puzzles. There were even a couple of innovative uses of the device, at least where adventure games are concerned. My biggest disappointment, however, besides the fact that this was the end, was how it ended. Still, up until the last few minutes of the game the journey was certainly worth it.
For the most part you play the role of Martin, trying to find your parents and depose the emperor that has made life so unbearable in your world. As we’ve come to expect from this series you’ll visit many different locations, interact with several colorful characters and even rack your brain a bit along the way. There’s a built in help system, though there were a couple of times that it didn’t actually help me as much as I needed, and unfortunately I seemed to have to rely on this system a lot more than I would have liked. I don’t know if I was just missing obvious things or I’m slipping in my old age or what, but this episode seemed much harder than part 2.
The interface for talking and for manipulating objects is a simple as tapping what you want to interact with. For the most part that runs pretty smoothly this time around, though there were a couple instances towards the end of the game where it seemed like dialogs would get stuck or flash so quickly I couldn’t read them. The puzzles are a bit more creative this time around, involving activities like swiping and a couple other things that I’ll leave you to discover. On the plus side, I like the fact that the puzzles go beyond the mundane “tap to win” interface. However, there were a couple of times that I was at a complete loss until I checked the hints, which to me means there should have been a better in-game indication of what I needed to do.
One thing I’ve consistently enjoyed about the Moonwall Palace games is the storyline, and episode 3 didn’t disappoint. In fact, in some ways it was the most interesting part of the tale to date. Then I got to the end, and for me it was like a slap in the face. I’m not going to spoil it, because good or bad it is the ending and some of you might even like it. For me it just didn’t seem like a fitting way to tie up the plotline. Of course I at least have a better understanding of it after talking to the developer, but I still don’t care for it. I’m still glad I played the game, though.
Graphically I think this episode is the best of the group. The backgrounds are detailed and more realistic looking than previous efforts, though there are times where the color palette is a little bleak even given the overall tone of the game. The character designs on a couple of the new cast members are really cool as well. Sound effects are decent enough, but there are still no voiceovers. I guess we’ll never get to know what Martin or the emperor sound like. As usual the music is well done, and there is enough variety to keep things from getting monotonous.
Moonwalls Palace 3 is certainly a fine way to end the series as a whole. Yeah I harped on the ending, but the journey to get there was enjoyable enough to forgive the last couple of minutes. If you like adventure games I would certainly recommend this, though it would be in your best interest to play the other two games first. Just be warned that by the time it’s over you might be scratching your head going “huh?” Otherwise, Viva La Future Revolution!
Overall Score: 8/10
App Store Link
This game was review on an iPad 2 running iOS 5.0.1.