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Back in late April, Lunar Lander Beyond was released by Dreams Uncorporated and Atari, as another classic remake built for new audiences. Note: key provided by ÜberStrategist.

"As a newly appointed captain of the Pegasus corporation, you must guide a roster of colorful pilots, eclectic advisors and state-of-the-art landers through a taxing series of missions. Deliver cargo, retrieve resources, and rescue stranded pilots as you navigate a mysterious universe of moons and planets."

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Confusingly, at one point it did note it would have Native Linux support, but this seemed to be an error as the actual release only has a Windows version. The good news is that it works well on both desktop Linux and Steam Deck using Proton with one caveat. Some of the cut-scenes have a problem playing in Proton. They display fine but the audio is all choppy so it does very briefly sour the experience. Oddly, it's only on some of them. Thankfully, there's no issues with the actual gameplay but still something that ideally needs solving.

You likely already know what to expect from this one. The basic mechanic is exactly the same as the classic. You're always being pulled downwards due to gravity, so it's up to you to do some truly fancy finger-work to avoid obstacles and land safely while you race around doing various types of missions. If you liked the original, you'll probably enjoy this a fair bit too as I did. It's that basic mechanic, amped-up by lots of modern touches with multiple ships to unlock, multiple pilots with abilities and various special abilities to equip on your ships that you can swap between missions.

Here you actually have a story too and the little cut-scenes and mission intros are a good touch, although the AI assist voice seriously got on my nerves. It sounded like one of those awful Tiktok AI voices.

The 4 difficulty options are a nice addition too giving you quite a different game to play across them. They tweak the damage received from bumping into things, pilot XP penalties, credit penalties, pilots dying or not, the ability to retry missions or not and fuel consumption.

I quite liked the pilot system in Lunar Lander Beyond giving you multiple to pick from for each mission, along with them levelling up and gaining random traits that can be really helpful. The stress mechanic is a nice unique twist too, as each pilot has their own stress meter that fills up as you screw up. If it gets too high, they might start freaking out seeing things and it can get really weird.

It can be quite a frustrating game overall, but that's firmly part of its point. The initial ship you get is quite terrible, and can incredibly easily just smash into a wall due to the thrust power. The other ships are all quite different, so you (like me) will probably end up just sticking to one ship type and not wanting to use the others. The ship controls, plus the pilot perks and all the abilities also ends up sort-of cheapening the whole idea of the game. The entire point of the original was to be a thorough challenge all the way through, and get you to stick it out because you really liked the challenge. There's not too much of that feeling here because of all the extras, it's a game that's in a slightly weird place.

That said, all of the additions and changes do make it a much more accessible game, which is what I feel they were really going for there. And so on that, they certainly succeeded. The gameplay can be pretty rewarding too, when you manage to pull off some slick moves across some of the trickier levels, and especially so when playing on a higher difficulty because that does make you hyper-focus a whole lot when you don't want to lose a precious pilot.

Overall it's a good game, and an interesting attempt to bring the gravity lander mechanic into the modern age. The Steam release seems to have been buried and ignored by most people, with it only seeing at time of writing this last bit a grand total of 4 reviews. Shame because I think it deserves a bit more attention.

I think the price is the biggest issue here. I really don't like the idea of developers undervaluing their games as they can take a lot of time and effort to make, and pricing even for indies is tough but at £24.99 for a game that really is relying on nostalgia, in years when we've had constant amazing new releases that are either cheaper or a similar price. It's a pretty tough sell.

Valve has given it a Steam Deck Playable rating, noting some small text.

You can buy Lunar Lander Beyond from the Steam page.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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5 comments

CatKiller May 7
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QuoteI think the price is the biggest issue here. I really don't like the idea of developers undervaluing their games as they can take a lot of time and effort to make, and pricing even for indies is tough but at £24.99 for a game that really is relying on nostalgia, in years when we've had constant amazing new releases that are either cheaper or a similar price. It's a pretty tough sell.

Yeah, that is way too high. The quality and breadth of their current competitors at that price and below, and of course the long tail of the Steam catalogue, means that game doesn't stand a chance at £25. £7-8 is likely a feasible window if it's mainly fuelled by nostalgia but is otherwise competently executed.

And, for me, since it's got no Linux support, hasn't managed to get Verified, and doesn't entirely work on Linux, it's only worth at most 10% of that.
pb May 7
24.99 for 4h of playtime, mind you.
Quoting: pb24.99 for 4h of playtime, mind you.

There's nothing wrong with charging that much for a short great game. But this looks okay at best.
Pengling May 7
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Quoting: pb24.99 for 4h of playtime, mind you.
I don't mind paying that for a short game that I'll revisit a lot (I've gotten more than my money's worth out of many infinitely-revisitable titles over the years), but this is not that game, for me.
rkl May 8
I wasn't a big fan of the original arcade game (I preferred Thrust on the BBC Micro if we're talking about retro spaceship games), but at £25 this is a hard pass for me. I suspect that, like the Atari Recharged games, this will end up as an Epic or Prime Gaming freebie in a year or so anyway.
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