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Rusted Moss Review in 3 Minutes – A Unique, Excellent Metroidvania


Rusted Moss is a 2D Metroidvania twin-stick shooter developed by Faxdoc, Happy Squared, and Sunny Daze and published by Playism.

The story revolves around the endless war between humankind and fae-folk. Humans kept the fae away with iron-infused weapons and extended the Age of Men far beyond its natural cycle. As the iron rusts, the fae grow stronger and humanity struggles to survive. In a last-ditch effort, human witches were created with stolen fae magic, but a changeling has been living among the unsuspecting humans. As Fern, you are the changeling with extraordinary abilities sent out to break the cycle and uncover the truths of human, changeling, and fae.

The story is a wonderful reimagining for anyone who is familiar with the mischievous folklore that surrounds the fae. My only issue is sometimes it’s a little difficult to keep all of the stories straight because too much time might pass between one major plot point to the other with a lot of extra lore sprinkled in-between. An in-game journal wouldn’t go amiss. However, it does add to the sinister feeling that you are a mercenary who isn’t exactly being told everything they need to hear.

You start off with a rifle but find more weapons along the way that behave differently and have special properties, like the pistol that throws out a buzzsaw after you hold down the fire button or the shotgun that pushes you back when you shoot. Relics can be found to enhance your weapons or your person, but you can only carry so many. Experimenting with your gear is a key part of making it through the decaying landscape. While there are plenty of enemies to gun down, the larger focus is getting around the map’s various hazards with the grappling hook.

The grappling hook has a physics-based elastic rope. With it you’ll use your momentum to propel yourself across various gaps and obstacles. It’s easy to pick up and difficult to master, but it rewards you accordingly. If you excel at momentum mechanics you can acquire extra secrets and early access to areas you normally couldn’t get to, and there are more optional rooms that will push even the most astute learner to their limit. That says a lot because, while the game starts off deceptively easy, it never stops pushing you after that, and the optional rooms seem almost sadistic by comparison. The boss battles are the most demanding and overwhelming and can feel senselessly frustrating because one mistimed hook or jump means you can get instantly swarmed and annihilated. In a sense, learning the boss’s patterns and figuring out optimal movement around the arena is a dynamic puzzle solved with patience and trial and error.

This is a game for players who enjoy rising up to a steadily growing challenge or for overachievers who love gunning for achievements most people would shy away from. Resets are fast. You’re never too far from a save point. There are plenty of environmental hints, like special flowers or barren patches of grass, to show you where to place hooks. The game provides plenty of tools to overcome fights or obstacles in different ways. On top of all that, there are accessibility options that let you customize the difficulty level to your needs. It’s easy to make groans in the midst of failure, but ultimately the systems are designed so well that you can only place blame on yourself. Because of this, trying again feels inviting and success always feels like it belongs to you.

Rusted Moss is a game that hits all the right notes for the Metroidvania genre, sprawling connected map with unique zones, various abilities that are easy to learn and rewarding to master, bountiful secrets to find, and a charming story to tie it all together, but the grappling bungie hook and accompanying level design elevates Rusted Moss miles above the competition.

Rusted Moss is available April 12 for $19.99 on PC.

Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for Rusted Moss.

About the author

John Friscia
Managing Editor at The Escapist. I have been writing about video games since 2018 and editing writing on IT, project management, and video games for around a decade. I have an English degree, but Google was a more valuable learning resource. I taught English in South Korea for a year in 2018, and it was exponentially more fun than living in Pennsylvania. My major passions in life are SNES, Japanese RPGs, Berserk, and K-pop. I'm currently developing the game Boss Saga with my brother, which is guaranteed to change your life and you should buy it.