[PlayStation 5] Lunar Lander Beyond Review

by EdEN, Owner

Lunar Lander Beyond from Atari and Dreams Uncorporated brings us a new narrative spin on the arcade classic. Learn more about it in our Lunar Lander Beyond review!


Lunar Lander Beyond from Atari and Dreams Uncorporated brings us a new narrative spin on the arcade classic. The indie team at Dreams Uncorporated previously gave us the excellent Cris Tales, which I got to review on Nintendo Switch, so I was definitely intrigued to see how this new story-based take on Lunar Lander would do on PlayStation 5. You’re a newly appointed Captain of the Pegasus Aerospace Corporation and are tasked with managing a group of pilots while keeping advisors at bay as you try to, well, survive.

What will those under your command need to do as they pilot the useful but dangerous state-of-the-art landers? You’ll be tasked with delivering precious cargo, retrieving valuable resources… as well as rescuing the pilots who have ended up stranded! You’ll be taking to the stars as you explore the many planets and moons in this universe… or not. Plot twist: a weird portal pops up, and you end up on an unexplored planet. That’s when things will start to get weird, with some rather peculiar hallucinations on the horizon for pilots who are under a lot of stress.

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Your real objective is to explore Nueva Luna, Mars, Venus, Ganymede, and Etimus. You’ll be taking on 30 missions spread through the aforementioned locations as you choose between one of the four different difficulty settings: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Insane. For Easy, you’ll have lower fuel consumption and damage received, the pilots won’t die when they crash, you can retry missions for free, and XP rewards will be normal. When playing in Normal, you’ll have regular fuel consumption and damage received, pilots won’t die when they crash, retrying a mission is free, and XP rewards are normal.


As expected, for Hard, you’ll consume more fuel and receive more damage, will need to spend credits to retry a mission, and pilots will get an XP penalty after you fail a mission or crash, but XP rewards will be slightly increased. And if you play in Insane, fuel consumption and damage received will be increased, pilots will die upon crashing, the campaign will end if you run out of pilots, you cannot retry missions, and XP rewards will be normal.

Once you begin, you’ll be aboard the PSS Becket, orbiting around Nueva Luna, and will be joined by the Hara AI assistant. An executive will give you the lowdown by way of a prerecorded message. Even though a Captain for the company is required to have well over 100 hours of training, you’ll be thrown right into a short tutorial to teach you the basics… because your first real mission is just around the corner! You’ll only need to complete a few training missions before Hara deems you good enough to get the job done.

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You’ll be steering your spaceship by using the left analog stick as you use the R2 button to activate your thrusters. Your first ship upgrade will be collected during the tutorial and will consist of the Stabilizer, which you can use to, well, stabilize your ship by pressing the Triangle button. There are more abilities to unlock by finding the right upgrade chips. These will allow you to equip your ship with, for example, a dash skill, a force shield, a tractor beam, a warp, and more. Not all chips can be equipped to all ships – three of which you’ll unlock during your time with Lunar Lander Beyond – so be sure to check their descriptions!


After you complete a mission, you’ll be graded based on your performance. You can get a Gold rank as long as you complete a mission as fast as possible, with your ship not receiving much damage. You’ll also be rewarded with Credits for completing the mission. You can obtain bonus credits for your count by being quick when completing missions, keeping your ship at 100% health by not receiving any damage, and collecting crystals along the way. You will also collect XP, which will allow you to level up.

By leveling up, a pilot can also receive Traits. Traits are passive abilities that can help a pilot to complete a mission. A pilot will gain a new Trait every time it levels up. Pilots will join your crew with a random trait unlocked. If it’s an Elite pilot, then the Trait will be particularly powerful. While Traits are random, you do have a chance to re-roll the last learned Trait in exchange for some Credits. You can reroll Traits at the Pilot Healthcare section, where you can also heal stress before it starts to really affect them.

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Stress can make things go, well, into crazy territory. As mentioned before, stress can lead a pilot to have hallucinations, which is going to add some trippy situations for you to get through! This is why it’s important that you ease into each mission and take it east. Just take it slow, learn more about each mission’s overall objectives, find the best route to take, and try to get to the landing platform in one piece. After a mission is over, spend a bunch of your credits on some therapy for your pilots and try to bring them back to reality.


And now, let’s talk about the trophies! Lunar Lander Beyond has a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy waiting for you. The list has 6 Bronze trophies, 15 Silver trophies, and 5 Gold trophies. The objectives for the trophies include performing your first landing, completing a mission without getting any damage, completing all missions in Luna, Mars, Venus, Ganymede, and Etimus, completing any level in Etimus after being insane for 180 seconds, getting all ability chips, defeating the boss without taking any damage, rescuing all survivors in the game, getting at least a Silver rank in all missions, completing the campaign on Hard and Insane difficulty, and getting a Gold rank all missions, to name some examples.

Lunar Lander brings us a new narrative spin on the arcade classic. It’s definitely not a game I was expecting, but it’s an experience I certainly welcomed into my collection. I even pre-ordered the Deluxe Edition with the game, softcover artbook, and steelbook! You’ll need to carefully manage your ship’s health and fuel since running out of health will make your ship go boom, and running out of fuel means you can’t power the ship’s engines or use any equipped abilities. Keeping your pilots mentally healthy is also very important, or else you’ll run into some weird situations along the way. Lunar Lander Beyond is out tomorrow on PlayStation 5 with a $29.99 price tag.

Disclaimer
This Lunar Lander Beyond review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Atari.

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