Some games are serious. They’re meant to model history, make a point, or get you upset about something you never knew existed. Other games are a frivolous delight. They’re here to be consumed, ogled, roughed up. When a piece falls behind the piano — a question of when, not if — the act of recovering it is as much a part of the game as scoring points. These moments aren’t interruptions. They’re continuations.
Crash Octopus is the embodiment of that latter type of game.
I picked up Moon Base on the aesthetic alone. It was the rings that persuaded me. Three colors and two sizes, countless at a glance. Were they metal? Plastic? No, wood, with that smokey scent once reserved for laser-cut games in cheap pizza boxes. An odor that will likely never grace the moon, and already it’s what I associate with lunar colonization.
But here’s the big surprise: Moon Base is far more than a pretty face.
You begin as a toddler stacking alphabet blocks. Thirty-something years later, you snap awake with a gray popsicle stick in hand, a sprawling mess of pillars and roads and cars standing before you, as attractive as it is fragile. Are you an urban planner? Some asphalt deity of the highway? Doesn’t matter. The only important thing is that your hands don’t shake.
Welcome to Tokyo Highway. Buckle up.