Quick Look – Moonglow Bay

I’ve been keeping an eye on Moonglow Bay for awhile, but I really didn’t plan on playing it on release. I mean, I do love a cozy game, and collecting all the things, but fishing mechanics in games are really hit or miss for me. But when it popped up on XBox Game Pass for PC on release date, I figured I’d download it and give it a whirl.

I really really wanted to like it.

Although keyboard play is supported, I cannot stress enough that if you’re not okay with using a controller to play, you should probably skip it entirely. I’m not super experienced with controller layouts, but so far, the controller layout seems … fine. Not super intuitive, but I’m working with it. However, the keyboard controls are probably the worst I’ve encountered. It’s as if they were decided upon by someone who has never played any sort of game with a keyboard, and there seems to be no way to rebind anything. You also won’t be using your mouse at all, which might be a plus if you want to play this on a laptop with a trackpad, but it all felt really really wrong to me.

Since switching to controller, I’ve found it basically pretty playable, but that brings me to my second major gripe. I really don’t care for the art style. For the most part, I can overlook it, but all the little voxel/ Lego style people look pretty much the same to me. In a game where a big part is talking to the people in town, I feel like it’s less than ideal having them all look kind of blocky and bland. I fully admit this might just be a “me problem” but it has definitely sucked some of the joy out of playing.

You are tasked with saving the town by fishing and cooking, and then reinvesting the money you make back into the town. Apparently, your partner, who has recently been declared dead after going missing three years ago, was the only thing keeping the whole economy going. My first save suffered from the “cannot open map” bug that’s going around, so I decided to restart, and my second try was going reasonably well. Until I got stuck – literally – on the first “boss” encounter. I wasn’t overly grumpy about the weird spike in challenge to complete the first chapter, but 2/3 of the way through the encounter, my boat ends up unmovable, and reloading the save brings me back to the start of the area. Having to start over once wasn’t a huge deal, but upon realizing that I’d have to do it a second time, I decided instead to just close the game and move on to something else.

Across both saves, I put in about 5 hours, so I feel like I gave Moonglow Bay a fair shake. If it’s still on Game Pass in a few months, I may see if they’ve ironed out the worst of the glitchiness, but I’m also fairly comfortable saying that maybe this one just isn’t for me.

3 thoughts on “Quick Look – Moonglow Bay

  1. I was really drawn to the art style when I saw a preview last spring (I think?) but in practice I’m not liking it as much. I think they tried to cram too much detail into this style and characters end up just looking like pixelated noise to me.

    I played on Xbox, using a controller of course. Controller is my normal way to game, but I found some of the cooking segments pretty non-intuitive. Also there’s some pretty terrible screen tearing on the Xbox Series X, which, y’know, can run Flight Simulator with no issues. This game should be light-lifting for the machine so I’m not sure why performance is an issue.

    I’m just putting it back on the shelf and will revisit in a few months. Like you I really WANTED to love it but… not yet, anyway.

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    1. The cooking segments reminded me of a mobile game – something I’d play on my phone with a touchscreen. It was fine, it was doable, I didn’t find it particularly enjoyable. The game’s got heart – and I like that – but heart only takes you so far if none of the mechanics are actually fun.

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