Title:Arcade Archives MOON CRESTA
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 01/31/2019
In this Nichibutsu classic, you take control of a space ship battling aliens, as it slowly builds up into a bigger ship!
…There’s no story, but I had to make up something instead of omitting this section, since I decided to review this game and the sequel now due to the fact that somehow, a brand new sequel to this 40 year old franchise is on the near horizon, thanks to Platinum Games’ SOL CRESTA! With both older games on ACA, let’s see how they hold up?
The usual ACA feature slate applies, and since this port came out before their 2020 revamp, that basically means if you read a review of any ACA game I made before, you’ll know what to expect, with filter/screen/orientation options here as always. Luckily, that means this game is very Flip Grip friendly, for crisp pixels!
The game itself, being from 1980, is absolutely simplistic in every way you may expect. Black background, colorful enemies, and there’s some mild movement. It definitely looks a lot better than Galaxian, and the cool diving of the enemies make them enjoyable enough to watch, but otherwise this is a space game that looks like most of the other space games. Likewise, there is no music, just a few jingles and noises.
This review is going to be one of the simplest ones I’ve done. You ready to hear what you do in Moon Cresta? You start in a space arena, with a small ship… And shoot at enemies.
That’s the entire game! To be blunt, this is pretty much a Galaxian Clone, and even seems to run on similar hardware, so if you played that game, you’ll know what to do here. Move your ship at the bottom, fire your shots at the waves of enemies, then clear them out until you spawn another. The enemies here are more interactive than those of Galaxian, and there’s a local high-score leaderboard here for you to place on, but otherwise the games are pretty similar.
Except for Moon Cresta’s main feature, the formation system! Every few stages, you’ll have a minigame where the next piece of your ship can attach to your current one, and you’ll have to tap the movement buttons just right in order to position it exactly. Land correctly, and you’ll gain bonus points and more firepower, leading to what seems to be one of the earliest examples of a powerup in a game like this. If you somehow manage to make the entire ship fully upgraded without dying, you can really do some rapid damage, and that ends up making the scoring a lot of fun!
Unfortunately, death will kick you back to the base ship, and missing the landing will also not give you the upgrade, so you’ll still be your main ship most of the time. Despite this simplistic addition, I found it to be a pretty fun enough shakeup, and it goes really well with the traditional ACA features of scorechasing leaderboards and Hi-Score/Caravan modes. Besides that, what you see is what you get.
In conclusion, Moon Cresta is a pretty obscure classic, but still a very important one nevertheless. It’s simplistic, but the main feature it has over other similar shooting games was good enough to be imitated by other companies and followed up on in the sequel, Terra Cresta, and if you like score chasers, this one’s still pretty fun.
I wouldn’t exactly call Moon Cresta $8 worth of fun, though. As much as I dig it, there’s no ending, no real major changes, and nothing to really do besides score chase. The score chasing is great fun, but considering how the ACA line offers far more advanced shooters for the same price, this one may be a tough sell. Still, if you can get over that and like the simplicity on display, I think you’ll be able to get at least a couple hours out of it like I have, and the perfect emulation here means this is easily the best version.
I give Arcade Archives Moon Cresta a 6 out of 10.