Moonshades is an old school dungeon-crawler 5 years in the making

Exclusive: Moonshades is an old school dungeon-crawler 5 years in the making

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Moonshades 1
Moonshades is the work of a one-person-development team.
Photo: Viktor Domonyi

As a kid, Viktor Domonyi loved early computer role-playing games like Wizardry and Eye of the Beholder. Now that he’s grown, the 41-year-old Hungarian web developer-by-day, games developer-by-night wants to bring them back. And he’s willing to sacrifice massive quantities of free time to make his dream a reality.

Welcome to the world of Moonshades: a new (yet convincingly old school) RPG that’s just landed in the App Store. For fantasy fans who wish their 2020 was a bit more 1990 in style, this is the dungeon-crawler for you.

Moonshades plunges the player into a first person-view dungeon crawler, in which you must make your way through a labyrinthine underground world filled with magic, spatial puzzles, crafty traps, combat, and captivating missions.

The plot centers around a once prospering kingdom called Harten, now under siege by demons from another realm. They arrive under the full, red moon of Okrin, the god of chaos and destruction, and… well, you get the gist. It’s one of those games. And, if you’re remotely a fan of this type of subject matter, all the better for it.

“I am a great fan of this genre ever since I was a child without a computer or smartphone,” Domonyi told Cult of Mac. “[As a kid, I] could hardly wait to get to ‘dungeon’ parties, armed with dice, paper, pens, and my own tales. When Eye of the Beholder and Wizardry appeared, I was completely enchanted. [Ever since then], I’ve longed to make a game in a mesmerising imaginary world with roots in those experiences.”

A dungeon-crawler for the ages

Creating an RPG dungeon-crawler revival would be a tall order for any developers. To work well, the game’s need to be immersive, with convincing worldbuilding and massive amounts of imagination on display. That would be tough for any indie games studio; let alone a one-person team who did virtually everything — from programming and level design to story and UX.

While he used stock 2D and 3D animations and art available elsewhere, he also worked to create his own models and textures in places. The results are truly epic — and that’s not just a reference to the game genre.

“[It’s] hard to say how many hours it took, but I am sure it is more than 1,000 hours if I include the alpha version what was started about 5 years ago,” he continued. For most of this time, Domonyi had to fit development alongside his full-time job as a web developer. “I had the background [in coding], but game development is really a different thing,” he said.

The secret? “First of all, you need a very tolerating and supporting girlfriend,” he explained. “Passion and tenacity is necessary, and the willingness to dedicate all your free time — I mean, really every free minute — for your dream.”

Moonshades originally launched on Android, where it has been downloaded more than 100,000 times. Over the holidays, however, Domonyi took the plunge and brought it to the iOS App Store, too. The resulting 5-star ratings suggest he was right to do so.

Moonshades: Dungeon crawler
It’s like a blast from the past.
Photo: Viktor Domonyi

How to get hold of Moonshades

Moonshades is free to download from the App Store. In-app purchases are available in the form of gems. These are used for increasing your number of inventory spaces. However, they are not crucial when it comes to completing the game. (Although, if you do shell out, at least you know it’s going toward supporting innovative indie gaming at its best.)

Have you played Moonshades yet? Does this appeal to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.