A new creative universe and attention to detail down to the finest brushstroke. We were allowed to play “Moonbreaker” at Gamescom.
unknown worlds wants Moonbreaker to be to miniature tabletop games what Hearthstone is to trading card games. The essence of the game should be cast in an accessible video game. We played “Moonbreaker” at Gamescom 2022 and are confident that it can succeed.
In “Moonbreaker” players help a tabletop hero, here called Captain, to win against an opponent. The turn-based tactical gameplay is very reminiscent of “Xcom” or “Into the Breach”. While the skirmishes against the AI seem like a puzzle, the duels against human opponents are the varied heart of the title.
“Xcom” meets “Hearthstone”
Before starting the game, we choose a captain and an army. At first only the captain is on the battlefield. Who can join from your own team later depends on the army composition – it’s like a trading card game in which you build your deck. From the isometric view we look over the relatively small battlefield. The game world is not divided into fields, but like Warhammer in millimeters and centimeters.
The special abilities of the four available captains determine the gameplay. In the Gamescom demo, two ranged and two melee fighters are available. For example, one of the captains is particularly fast and improves his own army, another distributes mines on the battlefield and causes area damage.
It is always noticeable that the developers of Unknown Worlds have taken “Hearthstone” as a role model. What is called mana in Blizzard’s trading card game is called cinder in “Moonbreaker”. Each round, another valuable cinder goes into the resource pool, which can be used for special attacks or new units.
With this fixed increase in resources per round, “Moonbreaker” escapes the traditional bad luck that players can have when building up in “Magic the Gathering”, for example: too much or too little mana in relation to the heroes and abilities that can be played.
And so a game of Moonbreaker plays like you would imagine a classic trading card game, but with the added tactics of a dynamic battlefield with lines of sight and cover.
action in the ear
The universe is being created by author Brandon Sanderson. “Moonbreaker” takes place in the Reaches, a small solar system with many moons and colorful aliens. The plot should be told via so-called audio dramas, which should appear in the game or simply as a podcast.
There is already material for a few years, the universe is already very embellished, explains Unknown Worlds at Gamescom. However, it is not yet clear how many captains will be available in the finished game. The balance of the game is more important to the team than mass.
As if deceived
Unknown Worlds currently has no plans to release the beautiful figures from the “Moonbreaker” universe as real tabletop figures. Since each unit can be individualized with pixel precision in the complex editor, we would also like to have the result on our desk.
The painting of the figure succeeds – also thanks to tools such as the automatic restriction to individual polygons – very cleanly. Impressive results are quickly achieved by simulating the washes (thin, almost transparent colors that create shadows) and texture filters known from the miniature world.
New colors, filters and shapes can be unlocked over time. There is initially no in-game shop. How the monetization of “Moonbreaker” will look like in the end is still open. As with “Subnautica”, the Unknown Worlds team would like to base its “Early Access” title on fan feedback.
“Moonbreaker” is scheduled for release on September 29, 2022 in Early Access on Steam. Shortly before that, there should already be open play tests. The title will initially appear for Windows and Mac OS, but it already runs smoothly on Linux via Proton. The Steam Deck even supports the touchscreen. A version for the Nintendo Switch was considered unlikely at Gamescom, but not impossible.