You are on a bleak, cold, windy island. And you seem to be alone... but fires and candles still burn. As you explore, a story of guilt, loneliness, and faith begins to take shape. And it becomes increasingly obvious that something is hunting you...
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Positive (741 reviews) - 73% of the 741 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 28, 2014

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Includes 2 items: The Moon Sliver, The Music Machine

 

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May 3

'The Grandfather' has been released

The collab project between MPR Art Hallucinations and I--The Grandfather--has been released on Steam:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/433750/

The Grandfather is a strange point and click adventure inspired by surrealist films such as David Lynch's Eraserhead. It follows the story of an old man who is tormented by the coldness of his wife, and wakes up one night to find that his arms, legs, and torso are missing, leaving him a disembodied floating head.

Keep in mind that The Grandfather was designed/directed by MPR Art Hallucinations (creator of The Lady) and simply programmed by me. So expect a much different (much more surreal) experience than you get in my solo horror games.

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Reviews

“It's a classic tale retold with brilliant tension, as it was in John Carpenter's The Thing and Telltale's The Walking Dead series.”
Kill Screen Daily

“...a game that shot straight to the top of my 'Favorite Games of 2014' list...The Moon Sliver is simply too good to pass on.”
Pixels or Death

About This Game

*The Music Machine--the follow up to The Moon Sliver--can be purchased here*

The Moon Sliver is a short narrative-focused non-linear exploration game, with elements of horror. It features a unique narrative mechanic that blurs the line between story and exploration, where interacting with objects and even simply moving around will reveal fragments of narration. As you piece these fragments together, a story of guilt, loneliness, and faith begins to take shape. And it becomes increasingly obvious that something is hunting you...

The Moon Sliver is best thought of as an experiment in exploration-focused storytelling, blurring the line between novelette and game. It seeks to tell a deceptively complex, poetic story in a literary fashion, through an interactive medium. It rewards players who ask questions and actively seek to figure things out for themselves.

Explore the island, keep your flashlight charged, wait for night to fall. Discover answers.

This is not a Unity Asset Store collection. Modeling, music, environments, and programming were done from scratch. Textures were based off of stock photos. Sound effects were manufactured from creative commons samples.

The original soundtrack for The Moon Sliver can be downloaded at https://davidszymanski.bandcamp.com/. Or, the extended soundtrack (featuring music not included in the original game) can be downloaded as DLC

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel i3
    • Graphics: AMD 6870 or equivalent
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Additional Notes: The Moon Sliver will likely run on machines that do not meet these specs, if they are able to run other Unity Engine games.
Customer reviews
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Overall:
Mostly Positive (741 reviews)
Recently Posted
Son Of Donald
0.7 hrs
Posted: August 28
Slow reading and ending made me spooked. Good game (6/10)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Greenfields🐱🐾
3.1 hrs
Posted: August 27
Good.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Aznboy
0.6 hrs
Posted: August 19
As far as indie horoor experiences go, this game is definitely on for the books. The atmosphere and eerie story pf the town you're placed in is simply and beautifully done. Very good game, 8/10.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
PsychoticRabbit
0.6 hrs
Posted: August 10
The Moon Sliver is a somber experience, with subdued visuals and desolate atmosphere. There is a beautiful subtlety to the game, and the narrative is satisfying while remaining just sparse enough to leave some to the player's interpretation. The mystery at the center of the game is intriguing, and the link between story and environment makes an engaging dynamic. I particularly recommend the game if you like to read, not because there is a lot of text (rather, I feel there is the perfect amount for what the game is) but because it feels a lot like a short story. The only complaint I have with it is that the way the game presents its story sometimes makes the gameplay choppy.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Quibber123
2.0 hrs
Posted: August 9
I had no idea what to really expect going in (aside from those screenshots on the store page), and after beating it I'm surprised at how good it actually was compared to my expectations going in.

The game is 30 minutes of short vignettes that recount the thoughts and conversations of people who existed on this island. Over the course of the game you'll wander around and discover what befell the people that lived there. The story is easy enough to follow (there is some blank filling required on the player's side) and interesting enough to keep you hooked for the whole 30 or so minutes of "gameplay."

So, gameplay. It's... there. You can interact with a few objects to bring up a small text box that gives additional context/story, and occasionally you can pick up an item.
It's exceptionally barebones. If you hate walking sims you will despise this. If you enjoy unique indie game aesthetics you'll probably enjoy this one.

Pros:
  • A nice story
  • Good atmosphere
  • Good music

Cons:
  • A large number of text prompts are all proximity based and can overlap... yeah. Not very good.
  • A poor sense of direction. Not that there's none at all (landmarks and power pylons do an okay job), but finding out what is interactive and what isn't requires you to stumble your mouse around until the cursor changes in most cases. Sometimes a lone book can be used. Sometimes it cant. Etc. Needed more coherent visual rules.
  • The flashlight requiring a recharge felt... unnecessary from a gameplay perspective.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Khunty
1.0 hrs
Posted: August 6
This won't be for everybody but I liked it... I wish it was a little longer...
Helpful? Yes No Funny
N0N1337H41
0.9 hrs
Posted: July 25
Basic review: Stop reading anything about this game at all if you think you might ever play it. Going in 100% blind is the best possible.

After only one playthrough I can say that this game is going to be one that people point back to in a few years time, when "walking simulators" have fully developed into their own accepted and respected genre, and they will say that this was one of the games that helped to define the genre. It's never going to be well known, like Gone Home, it's going to be one of the games that inspired other decs to make games like Gone Home. Much like with music, the well known artists/albums are all inspired by some mostly unknown work. This game and its spiritual successor/sequel are the classic games that only a few will know, and you owe it to yourself to know them if you're a fan of this genre.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
SchillBoner
1.6 hrs
Posted: July 16
I purchased this game a few months back and put off playing it until today. I am glad I finally got to it. Great short experience, not so much a game. It is basically a "walking simulator" with a great story and atmosphere. Also good to know that I'm not the only one who thought this was called "The Moon Silver".
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sprayface
2.1 hrs
Posted: July 15
played this a while back. interesting story, but not much else. you will play it, go "huh" and never think of it again. but it was OK. and you really can't say that about many 1.99 games. so thumbs up?
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Chinezninjablade
2.5 hrs
Posted: July 14
Was a good game overall kept me guessing which character I was. Nice spook at the end. 6.5/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 9
I had no idea what to really expect going in (aside from those screenshots on the store page), and after beating it I'm surprised at how good it actually was compared to my expectations going in.

The game is 30 minutes of short vignettes that recount the thoughts and conversations of people who existed on this island. Over the course of the game you'll wander around and discover what befell the people that lived there. The story is easy enough to follow (there is some blank filling required on the player's side) and interesting enough to keep you hooked for the whole 30 or so minutes of "gameplay."

So, gameplay. It's... there. You can interact with a few objects to bring up a small text box that gives additional context/story, and occasionally you can pick up an item.
It's exceptionally barebones. If you hate walking sims you will despise this. If you enjoy unique indie game aesthetics you'll probably enjoy this one.

Pros:
  • A nice story
  • Good atmosphere
  • Good music

Cons:
  • A large number of text prompts are all proximity based and can overlap... yeah. Not very good.
  • A poor sense of direction. Not that there's none at all (landmarks and power pylons do an okay job), but finding out what is interactive and what isn't requires you to stumble your mouse around until the cursor changes in most cases. Sometimes a lone book can be used. Sometimes it cant. Etc. Needed more coherent visual rules.
  • The flashlight requiring a recharge felt... unnecessary from a gameplay perspective.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 19
As far as indie horoor experiences go, this game is definitely on for the books. The atmosphere and eerie story pf the town you're placed in is simply and beautifully done. Very good game, 8/10.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
189 of 249 people (76%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 28, 2014
Let's make one thing clear before somebody gets the idea of looking at my friends list - yes, I do have the author of the game in there. I am not actually affiliated with him in any reasonable way, aside from exchanging a few words now and again. Nonetheless, my opinion might be biased, that's why I'll try to explain it in detail. Oh, and I have finished the game when it wasn't on Steam yet.

So, first of all, a word of warning: The Moon Sliver is a game strongly focused on telling you a story, with very light puzzle elements. It stands somewhere between Gone Home in focus on freedom of movement and exploration and Dear Esther in telling a mysterious story which is quite open to interpretation. If this is something you are not into - not a game for you. If, however, previously named titles got your attention - read on. Or just buy the bloody thing, it's as expensive as two bottles of beer and my recommendation thingy glows somewhere around these words anyway.

Right, you're still reading. First of all, I stand by the comparisons I have made above, so I'll use them as a baseline. At first, you're likely to notice two things - quite apparently lower production values and fantastic music. To elaborate: In terms of graphical design and fidelity, the game is not nearly as flashy as games like Dear Esther or Gone Home might be.

Graphics are quite spartan, yet very functional. I feel that the simplicity of the graphical presentation is often enough used to set a feeling of loneliness and desperation, which it does quite well. At any rate, if pretty is what you're looking for, I'm sad to say that's not part of the package, and repetitive assets don't help much.

Music, on the other hand, is quite wonderful. It sets the tone very nicely and is used to underline the desired mood of individual locations.

When it comes to most important bit of the game, the storyline, I find that the less you know when you start it, the better. Suffice to say it's captivating and definitely kept me playing all the way until the end of the game, which is not a particularily long journey, nonetheless long enough for me to lose interest in most games. Writing is very good, and aside from the way it handles reading notes (no, there's no voice acting, just a lot of quality writing), I was very happy with it.

The story is told both trough enviromental cues you can see in various locations and notes and books as already mentioned. You will also run across a few simple puzzles and the entire game is based around exploration of a small, yet very open island - you will not see the linearity of Dear Esther here, you can go just about anywhere, at any time you want, altho some locations require information obtained at other ones.

Right, I have opened the subject earlier, but I feel I should elaborate on it a little more - the game is short. Even by Gone Home standards short. You'll beat it in under hour and a half, and you don't really have much of a choice in the matter as it doesn't support save states. The game is designed to be beaten in one sitting tho, and it's hardly too long, so that should not be an issue.

All in all, The Moon Sliver was an experience worth remembering, and that's more than I can say for most games that I have played recently. For the asking price, you're hardly even taking a risk, so if I got you even slightly interested, just go for it.
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51 of 57 people (89%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 11, 2015
Alright, I'll come right out and admit it: the Moon Sliver looks like it was made in the 1990's. It's blocky and undetailed and generally unimpressive in terms of graphical prowess. But that is, perhaps, part of what makes it so fascinating, because what this game lacks in anti-aliasing and high-definition textures it makes up for with its impressively bleak and tension-inspiring atmosphere. Along with well-done pacing and a plot that is steeped in mystery and slowly-answered questions, this nerve-wracking sense of environment makes for a short, dread-inducing game worth experiencing.

The game begins with the player spawning in a small room with a fireplace, some chairs, and a few empty barrels. When the player clicks one of these objects, a snippet of the storyline is displayed via text at the top or the bottom of the screen. Through the examination of these objects, four different characters, each with their own personalities, are described, and the player is left wondering which of these characters's shoes they have stepped into. The story itself is vague in the beginning, with more details being unveiled the more you explore the island you are trapped on.

Throughout the game, there are lingering hints of a supernatural force on the island—a sense of another presence, something dread-worthy that stalks you as the day slowly grows darker. The tension of the Moon Sliver grows the more you learn about the characters and the betrayal they have faced. It reaches the start of its pinnacle in an underground maze (with a well-done flickering flashlight mechanic that occurs if you don't keep your light charged) and then peaks with the player's night time return to the mountain and the unveiling of the player's part in the story as well as the final confrontation with the malevolent force of the island.

Of course much of the Moon Sliver's gameplay is optional. Players can skip most of the story entirely by simply refusing to explore. For that reason, perhaps, the Moon Sliver is a game that is what you make of it. This short story sets up the perfect environment for a creepy, unsettling journey—all it takes is an imaginative player to really sink into the text-based story and truly walk in the shoes of its protagonist. For anyone willing to fully explore the content the creators have left out for you on this barren little island, the Moon Sliver is a thumbs up.
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48 of 54 people (89%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 11, 2015
"Oh world, oh prison dingy white
Oh ghostly shadow grey
Your whelming lies of false delight
Are dark and cold as moonless night
And bleak as sunless day"


This passage taken from a discarded poem found in one of the cabins is actually a successful definition for the game itself. A sense of isolation, desperation and abandonment are the building blocks of The Moon Sliver, a minimalistic psychological horror by David Szymanski. I've been meaning to play this for a long while, and finally managed to spare an undivided hour to complete it, which is a prerequisite of completion since there is no save game feature. The game is intended to be played in one sitting of an hour, and all there is to explore would fill that hour completely anyhow. The definition of my experience was an effectively uncanny environment mixed with a bit bleak story revelation.

The game starts in complete darkness, in a warehouse that resides on a shore line, and there is no one else besides us. We learn that there "used to be" four people that dwelt on this island, yet there is only one now. We start walking, exploring the island and try to put things together through reminiscences of our character. By gameplay function, this is a walking simulation since there is nothing else to do rather than explore. So no monsters to jump at you if you are in expectancy of a "big bad wolf coming at you" scenario.

The island itself isn't that big; but the howling wind, the approaching darkness and constant clouds of dust establish an appropriately plain yet ominous setting. I wouldn't call graphics anything extraordinary - minimalistic even - but the choice and display in decoration combinations are in artistic value to set the mood. Added with a sorrowful soundtrack, there is no doubt that we exist in an ultimately forlorn geography without a clue to any happenstance and feel that isolation, that helplessness every second of our one hour gameplay.

On story purposes: aside being quite successful in atmosphere, The Moon Sliver either fails to explain much, or intentionally leaves matters unspoken. In either case, anecdotal memories or vague dialogues exchanged by intended characters don't reveal much aside a single act of desperation that would either doom or salvage the former inhabitants. There is no explanation for the purpose of the island, or how people ended up being there in the first place. As it is, this game feels like a glorious demo which would promise for things to come. I heard that there could be some explanation for the background in David Szymanski's next game, The Music Machine which I didn't play yet. If so, I strongly recommend playing two games back to back to track a complete story.

Do I recommend it? Yes, for observing a complete success on establishing an atmosphere with too little in graphics, but on narrative achievement, I must say that I've seen better. For your half a dollar, it is a good experience. I'll be keeping an eye for more David Szymanski games in the future.

Update: Now that I've completed the Music Machine, I'm positive that these two games should be played back to back. In unison, they form a beautiful story, the tale of a creation and its undoing. Buy them together, enjoy an age old story in some really radical context!

Please also check out Lady Storyteller's Curator page here - follow for regular updates on reviews for other games!
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68 of 88 people (77%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 28, 2014
Definitely recommended for people who like moody, artsy experiences, and aren't too hung up on what constitutes a "game." The graphics aren't fancy, but they get the job done, and the music is fantastic. Tense and scary in the same was as Gone Home. It's not about jump scares or combat, but a feeling of dread that comes with being in near dark, and feeling like you're not alone. Yes, it is short, but it's also cheap. The asking price for the time to completion is comparable to Dear Esther. And for what it's worth, I didn't particularly love Dear Esther, so even if you're like me and thought DE was overrated, give this a shot.
Edit: Also, if either you enjoyed this and want more of this kind of thing, or want to find out what the developer's work is like before you buy The Moon Sliver, I just played one of his free games, Fingerbones, and it does similar things with creating tension and fear through music and sound effects. http://jefequeso.itch.io/fingerbones
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42 of 48 people (88%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 17, 2014
What a unique game! Basically all you do in this game is walk around and try to not only figure out what happened on this island, but who exactly you are. If you are a bit patient and observant, you can answer both of those questions. You can click on items and notes to read them or initiate text to pop up. There’s a fair amount of reading. There are also a few minor puzzles to solve which involve just searching carefully.

The flashlight mechanic is a bit of a nuisance because you have to keep recharging it to keep it lit, but I think the devs really wanted you to feel a sense of impending dread. The darkness does feel oppressive and the more you know about the story, the more your sense of dread will build.

You can beat the whole game in about an hour, and it's meant to be played that way. Be prepared for a fantastic ending too! All in all, a very unique and tense experience.
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36 of 39 people (92%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
13.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 5, 2015
So, I finally had the chance to play through this completely, and finished it an hour or so ago...and I have to say I was VERY impressed. The first couple of times I tried (and got interrupted) I was a little confused because I found doors I just couldn't open, but never actually got the time to explore properly, but I'm glad now that I finally did.

Firstly, a warning of sorts, there's really not a whole lot going on in this game, the area youre able to explore is on the small side, there's not a lot of detail in anything, and there are no visible people ANYWHERE...that being said, what this dev did with what little he had at his disposal is well and truly worthy of praise.

The "lack" of detail in most of the surfaces is easily explained when a strong wind kicks up, blowing sand (albeit basic-graphics sand) everywhere, and we find out more about the island through various notes and remembered conversations.

The atmosphere and tension is far more palpable once you access beyond the few houses on the island, especially if you forget where the nearest charge-pont for your flashlight is located...

In all, I'd be remiss to do anything less than highly recommend this game, it's something that everyone should play at least once.

Tom Cullen/10 would freak out in the tunnels again
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80 of 113 people (71%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 26, 2014
The Moon Sliver exists as a disheartening example of creative aspiration clashing with the cold reality of a developer's technical and artistic capabilities.

It's the undercurrent of a very clear want to do something meaningful that makes it sad to see the pieces attempt and fail to come together, leaving behind a mess of mixed narrative threads and ugly amateur game design. Though high production values and clever engine tweaks are by no means required to tell a compelling story through a game, I was rather unprepared for the shockingly bland textures and empty landscapes that make up the island you explore. There are attempts to provide a better sense of place through the placement of key objects in the environment, but the world is so entirely bare outside of them that there existence as poor attempts to build a more interesting setting jump out almost more than if there had been nothing at all. The lifeless architecture and layout of the island made it hard to become even a little invested in it, being so removed from the narrative as to act like little more than a way to disorganize and spread out the notes and dialogue exchanges that make up the story.

Even with the abundantly sterile location I was still able to buy into the narrative, up until a point. The scattered pieces of plot leave a large amount up to the player (though reading poorly formatted text is about the most you will be doing) to decipher, and this ambiguity was intriguing and surprisingly well written as it attempted to flesh out a world and characters that the developer didn't have the resources to properly show. But for all it tries to do with its narrative, it eventually becomes clear that many of the stories The Moon Sliver starts, it has no intention of fleshing out or finishing. The troubled relationships between the few remaining inhabitants of the island, the purpose of the island itself, a mysterious supernatural object and the dark creatures it supposedly keeps away, and the internal moral struggles of certain characters are all briefly brought up, but never elaborated upon besides a simple surface overview that leaves more questions than it answers.

It's not that the story The Moon Sliver wants to tell couldn't exist without giving these answers, but with so much time devoted to setting a scene and almost none to actually turning said scene into plot when the story finally does want to end and give at least a cursory explanation as to what happened, the revelations feel contrived and flimsy. There was so much more I wanted to know, I'd have gladly pushed through the tedium of some baffling design decisions to find it, but The Moon Sliver is content to end saying little and accomplishing even less.
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