Moon Patrol: The Milky Way Chronicles for Intellivision Amico's Demo is Rough
Moon Patrol: The Milky Way Chronicles for Intellivision Amico's short AR demo has potential, but is quite rough at this time.
While a fair amount of skepticism always surrounds new platforms like Google Stadia, Atari VCS and Intellivision Amico, I usually find myself on board with their ideas. In an industry that’s fairly set in its ways with the big three, it’s fun to see companies of different shapes and sizes attempt to enter the market. Though I enjoyed Google Stadia, the Intellivision Amico intrigues me because of how it is trying to recapture the hearts of both retro gamers and Wii owners. I went hands-on with it at E3 this year and saw a lot of potential in the platform.
Even if it isn’t targeted at the hardcore gamer, I can see retro enthusiasts and casual players really getting into the platform and have a fair bit of excitement for it myself. Intellivision Amico will have a lot of casual-focused games at launch, but so far the revealed games have mainly appealed to the retro crowd. Moon Patrol: The Milky Way Chronicles is one such title; unfortunately, the short demo Intellivision Entertainment released for it earlier this month is rough.
As Intellivision Entertainment has publicized, this demo can only be accessed in an unorthodox way. To play Moon Patrol: The Milky Way Chronicles’ demo, you’ll need to own a shirt with the Intellivision Amico logo on it. You’ll then have to download the Amico AR app and point it directly at the shirt, which will play a little animation and give you access to the demo. It’s charming, albeit a bit odd–a statement that also describes the console Moon Patrol will be on.
Upon booting up Moon Patrol: The Milky Way Chronicles for the first time, I was interested but not amazed. To be frank, the game doesn’t look all too great and is reminiscent of an early Xbox Live Arcade title. Its UI also looks stretched to fit a mobile screen, though it is easy to digest. Intellivision says that this is all unfinished with 10 months of development left. That being said, the visuals really need to be polished quite a lot or stylized a bit more to be eye-catching. I am a huge proponent of the notion that low-fi or underbaked graphics aren’t everything in judging the merits of a game. Still, it does hurt the game in this case, especially when I considered how incredibly short the demo was and the fact that I still prefer the look of the original and not this updated aesthetic.
Moon Patrol’s simplicity will be good for accessibility in the full version but can be exploited in this build.
Intellivision Entertainment plans to expand the demo over time, but as of right now it should only last most players 20 to 30 seconds. In that short timeframe, it definitely plays like Moon Patrol. Even though the game is from way before my time, I have still played and enjoyed the original. For those of you who are unaware, Moon Patrol was created by Irem and hit arcades in 1982. It is a level-based game where players control a moon buggy that can jump as well as shoot forward and above itself, taking down enemies to rack up a good it. Moon Patrol is considered a classic by many and was one of the first games to use parallax scrolling, so it makes sense that Intellivision Entertainment would want to remake it for Amico.
Everything from the original is present in this short snippet, from a great remix of the classic theme to the simple movement and shooting mechanics of the original. As what is likely Moon Patrol: The Milky Way Chronicles’ first area, the demo is easy to a fault. If you can jump over a few small gaps with spikes and shoot down a couple of UFOs, you’re good to go. Moon Patrol’s simplicity will be good for accessibility in the full version but can be exploited in this build.
I was able to beat this incredibly short demo multiple times by doing nothing but holding down forward and the shooting button. This ultimately killed most of my early enthusiasm for the game and indicated that Moon Patrol: The Milky Way Chronicles really needs to be polished before its October 10 launch. Definitely wait for the demo expansion before trying this out if you are remotely interested in Intellivision Amico and its games.
In my preview of this console, I said something that is still crucially important to this platform: “The Intellivision Amico’s goals are certainly commendable, but it will definitely live or die on the quality of its games. The Wii didn’t only succeed because of Wii Sports, but because it was able to maintain its momentum with great casual and hardcore games from the likes of Wii Party to Super Mario Galaxy and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.” Sadly, Moon Patrol: The Milky Way Chronicles doesn’t meet that level of quality at this time, even if other exclusive ones like Breakout do look great.
I don’t mind that the system will focus on more casual or simpler games like this. The unique controller also excites me more than anything too! Many mobile games show that quality trumps all, and that’s a mentality that Intellivision Amico games really need to take to heart. Tommy Tallarico’s heart seems to be in the right place with the claim that Intellivision Amico games will be heavily curated at a quality level of 7/10 or better, we just have to wait and see if the system’s library of games hits that high bar.
Though a game’s full quality can be hard to determine from just a 30-second snippet of gameplay, Moon Patrol: The Milky Way Chronicles did not leave a good first impression. Intellivision Amico and this Moon Patrol remake still have 10 months to prove themselves to general audiences; hopefully, this demo’s rough edges, which Intellivision should take note of, will be sorted out by then. For those that want to see the full demo in action, check out The Official Retro Asylum Youtube Channel’s video of it below: