Rusted Moss Notes

June 23, 2023

Rusted Moss Notes

April 13, 2023

At third boss? Girl who says she's my sister, has a rifle, summons ichor in phase two. I keep dying in phase 2.

What if Jump King was fun?

April 25, 2023

Grappling problem: in the more traversal focused parts, especially when climbing you're often holding your cursor right at the edge of the screen.

Fern's character design is crucial to the grapple working as well as it does. You need to read Fern's position and momentum from the corner of your eye while focusing on the cursor to grapple.

Playing well makes the game more beautiful. Fern can be majestic or awkward. Like Rain World.

April 28, 2023

The backtracking problem: I notice a secret area early in the game, but I can't get there yet. This happens maybe 20 times over the course of the game, and by the time I have all my tools I have no idea where any of these secrets actually are.

Backtracking in Metroidvanias is usually confusing and tedious. Why not let the player draw on the map? Retreading old areas is rarely satisfying or challenging, Rusted Moss already has teleporters, so it's not a Dark Souls situation where the game is designed around backtracking.

The secrets of Super Metroid at least synergize well with some of its more esoteric movement tech.

Rusted Moss has no keys for some of its map markers. B for blacksmith, S for shop.

May 1, 2023

Tons of secrets in the first area

The way some enemies flash and vibrate when you hit them makes them hard to read

Secrets are pretty necessary to get, because enemy damage scales up so quickly. This may have informed the decision to make most of the "secrets" straight-up challenges.

Bullet Hell inspired: you have to actually learn the bosses. In regular play the enemies flashing/vibrating is a problem but it's not bad for bosses.

The first flag can be grabbed from either side so you can effectively skip it. Why?

May 4, 2023

Rusted Moss does not have the ubiquitous i-frame dodge.

Did they do enough with mixing bosses and grappling?

May 8, 2023

I still can't make heads or tails of the enemy encounters. It's possible that they require a degree of focus and skill that I just didn't have on my first playthrough. But then the problem arises of whether combat should be so strongly emphasized. I don't think the mob enemies play to the game's strengths really, although they attempt to. Big AoE attacks and bullet streams induce us to use Fern's mobility to our advantage, which is good. Explores more possibilities of the grapple.

But something about the combat pushes me to stop grappling and deal with most enemies slowly and carefully. Turrets/snipers excepted. But drone guys of all flavours will hit me frequently if I try to evade them. They also hit me frequently if I don't, but maybe that's another problem.

May 10, 2023

Small annoyance: I wish terminal screens changed colour after you read them once. There are too many to remember and the item/secret counter tracks them.

To Do (May 18 2023)

[x] Talk about trinkets


Accelerationist Midsummer Night's Dream.

You play as a changeling (half-Fae half-human I guess?) Your buddy is called Puck, and we're trying to resurrect Titania. The Fae do evil things because they find them funny, which is one of the most fascinating things about the Shakespearean/Ye Olde Englishe mythology around fairies, so a good focal point. At the same time, the Fae are

Strong ambiguity about "good" and "bad" so far. The humans want to genocide fae, but our quest is to resurrect Titania (queen of the fairies) to genocide the humans. From what I gather: our character, Fern, used to live with humans but blew up some sort of lab and is now trying to help the Fae. This indicates to me that the game's story is not written out of obligation.

Technology (human) and magic (fae) not as "evil" and "good" but as two competing, powerful forces. Both sides in the conflict have competing material interests and are murderously hostile toward one another. Our character, I gather, is caught in the middle.


MP system, healing, and trinkets straight out of Hollow Knight.
I really appreciate the speed at which you can save and change out trinkets. Hollow Knight's slow pace started to drag on me after a while, especially as I got heavy into the backtracking.

Art reminds me of Momodora and Rain World.


Colour is used very well, fae grass is easy to see, the player character is very bright. The automatic spear things and some of the browner enemies have been hard to see though, I've been hit by threats I didn't notice a few times. Will see if this goes away as I adapt to the game. Kind of communicates the difference between dumb enemies and intelligent ones, parts of the material world vs. the sentient one. Material-world enemies like robots kind of fall into the background, while humans and fae always pop.

I should say that paying attention is stressed immediately. There are like three secrets you can find before the first boss, and extending that idea to threats is at least harmonious.

There are a lot of bars to manage. The high jump charge, the ichor buildup, health and MP. My brain is not automatically resolving them, I'm curious if I'll get the hang of it. Intuition says the ichor bar needs more contrast, but I might just need more experience.

grappling hook, movement

Grappling hook is nicely fricative--complicated interactions, but intuitive ones. SMB1 feel with a modern scope and scale. Overcoming the more challenging parts are very satisfying. The grapple is over-tutorialized but it's not annoying since the tutorials are voluntary--you talk to somebody who explains it to you. This is a compliment: the system is so intuitive and compelling that it does not need any teaching.

Character movement is not fluid, but this marks a contrast between grappling and walking. Trudging around with an assault rifle versus flying freely through the air. Very unique dynamic. The slower pace of the gunplay and foot movement makes it easier to manage your character in tight situations?? The simplicity of shooting frees your brain to think about grapple trajectories, for example. The simplicity of walking reduces the number of initial conditions on your grapples, although I imagine interactions will get more complicated as I collect more stuff.

Character art is fantastic, protagonist art has a good level of detail that communicates player actions well.


Rusted Moss is a very ambitious blend of styles. This is reflected in its mechanics, level design, and story. There are some rough edges, but the game is remarkably good considering its scope.