Of Moons And Mania: A Deeply Personal, Deeply Poignant Mental Health Odyssey

First, make sure you’re in a good mental space before you hit start on Of Moons and Mania. It tells a profoundly important story that I’d love everyone to experience, but one of the game’s biggest lessons is to take care of yourself.

I can’t think of any better way to explain the game than the developer’s description. It reads, “Of Moons and Mania is an interactive psychotic break, based on lived experience.” It’s an extremely compelling tale that begins its first act by making the narrative entirely relatable.

Drowning in college anxieties, the narrator struggles to balance goals with the increasingly untenable weight of expectation. It’s so familiar a situation it’s hard not to identify with the belabored hero, which makes the later acts — and the narrator’s break from reality — easy to connect to.

Gameplaywise, Of Moons and Mania is simplistic. I control a amorphous tailed blob constantly racing across the screen, and I really only have the option to control whether it goes up or down. To further the plot, I aim at various pieces of dialogue. It’s a relaxing task at first as I guide the floating speck in winding patterns to make easy small talk. But, of course, it gets harder.

As my mind becomes more besieged by anxiety and paranoia, the calm pale words are shadowed by vibrating red ones which attract my globular cursor like a magnet. These trumpet my fears of being followed, monitored, and talked about. But — simulating the fight between what I should say and what I am thinking — accidently hitting the trembling speech options makes me start the section over again. Until I make the most acceptable speech, I’m stuck in a frustrating loop, but the frustration serves an important point for the story.

Of Moons and Mania only takes about an hour to finish, and it’s an hour well spent.

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