Moons of Darsalon Review – Physics, Baby

Help rescue your fellow darsanauts and get them to safety in retro puzzle-platformer Moons of Darsalon for PC via Steam,

What the hell is this? Moons of Darsalon? More like Moons of… ah, nothing rhymes with it that’s going to work here. To cut to the chase, let’s give this the moniker of puzzle-platformer, just to paint a picture, but it’s so much more than that, and for all those retro gamers out there, historians, or anyone with a sense of humour (and patience), you’ll love it.

Developed by Dr. Kucho! Games, anyone with an ounce of gaming heritage can compare to several classics without it feeling like a rip-off and more… homage. My first impressions were Flashback, which I still stand by, but also Pikmin, Blackthorne, a sprinkle of Lemmings, Pitfall, and a 100 other quality Amiga games I played back in the day. Suffice to say, it has an ace feel to it.

Set on the planet Darsalon, you must rescue scattered darsanauts, leading them to safety over difficult terrain. Each stage begins with our hero locating their colleagues and ensuring they survive. A simple task on paper but incredibly challenging for several reasons. It didn’t help playing this on the keyboard and mouse, to begin with, and the characters even took the Mick when doing so. How dare I play with these peripherals! They were right. It sucked.

Moons of Darsalon Review - Fire in the hole
Fire in the hole. Source: Steam

Moons of Darsalon Review

’tis true, I didn’t enjoy Moons of Darsalon initially, despite the overwhelmingly nostalgic setup of ZX Spectrum-like loading screens, wicked 8-bit audio, and hilarious, self-aware dialogue. If there’s so much going for it, why the issue? The controls just didn’t work for me. The platforming was awkward, aiming a torch (essential for leading your ‘flock’) was clumsy despite mouse aiming being impeccable, and… well, I gave up.

Fast-forward a day or two, and I installed it on my Steam Deck. This time my character knew. They knew I had access to a controller, which improved the experience. Jumping, aiming the torch, and then the subsequent weapons were great. Now my only focus was the actual gameplay, which was saving the darsanauts.

At the beginning of each stage, you have to climb over the terrain to locate the others. It’s not always clear where they are, and there are plenty of hidden extras throughout. Once they have been located, however, you have to use hotkeys to get them to follow you, wait, or redirect them left or right. The latter is essential as you progress as, on many occasions, you can’t actually link up with them and instead shout out directions on where to go, redirecting the light so they can see or positioning objects so they can climb, land, or be attacked by sliding boxes until death. Alternatively, you can blast them out.

Moons of Darsalon Review - Finally
Finally! Source: Steam

Once In A Blue Moon

Both physics-based and featuring destructible terrain, Moons of Darsalon offers up a number of ways to complete a level, which I hasten to mention is ranked based on your time, health level of rescuees, and how many you saved. Some do get left behind on Darsalon; just make sure you meet the level requirements. Just saying. Anyhoo, Red Faction comes to mind as you can shoot through the floor to take shortcuts or even flank enemies to take them out before they kill you and your chums. And to put a further spin on that, you can also create terrain!

The actual levels in the game are quite short but are very replayable, often due to the necessity to beat your times or to improve your overall score. But it isn’t so straightforward, and while it’s essential to play with a controller (in my opinion), the platforming can be irritating when you miss a jump and lose health. Worse is when moving objects around and then watching them slide back down a slope, taking out one of the darsanauts in the process. Oh, and I will have to moan that the dialogue is very missable in that you will be too distracted to have a chance to read it.


Other than a few beefs with the gameplay and speech bubbles, Moons of Darsalon is a decent challenge and looks and sounds fantastic. There’s even a built-in GIF maker, plus 3D vehicles as well. Check out some other reviews, playthroughs and whatnot, but this is worth a look if you like some of the titles referenced in this review.

If you share this, I'll love you forever (ish)