When it comes to storytelling, sometimes simplicity can be a vessel for complexity, like a droplet of water containing a world of microorganisms. Or how A Bug's Life portrayed the water droplets which till this day is still my favorite thing from the movie...we are off topic. This is precisely the poetic depth captured in "MOONYOLK," a title that speaks volumes. This short story is a microcosm of everything wholesome and tender, yet tinged with a kind of melancholy. Sweet but bittersweet.
If you think about it, the setting is deceptively simple: two boys, floating in the sea, moon watching. It's the kind of scene you might see in a haiku. The sea and the moon become characters in their own right, symbolizing the ever-flowing emotions and the isolated love these two characters share. I don't know what hit me with this game but it did and it made me tear up.
The beauty of "MOONYOLK" lies not just in its aesthetic or setting, but in the way it explores the relationship between the two boys. Now, because it's a short piece, don't expect Tolstoyan layers of character development. However, in the brief moments we get to spend with them, we see glimpses of vulnerability, the hesitant steps towards intimacy that so many of us are familiar with. When it comes to Boys Love, sometimes the most powerful stories are the ones that focus on these fleeting moments of connection.
"A reminder that it's never too late to say you love me"—this line is the central theme of the game. Love, in all its glorious complexity, sometimes boils down to the simple act of expression. You don't need grand gestures, just the courage to voice what's been simmering inside you. And the fact that this story makes that point in 15 minutes makes it so impactful that some anime or AAA games can't capture.
Here's where I feel a bit torn. The 15-minute playtime is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it's a quick immersion into a beautiful world, and a curse because you're left craving more. But perhaps the brevity is the point—it leaves you with an emotional aftertaste. I ended up crying after playing it, which still my mind can't fully grasp why.
"MOONYOLK" is a compact yet expansive exploration of love and vulnerability. In a world saturated with overly complex narratives and action-packed stories, "MOONYOLK" serves as a beautiful reminder that sometimes the most potent tales are the simplest ones, filled with raw emotions and vulnerable confessions. It is a short yet fulfilling journey that leaves an indelible impression long after the 15 minutes are up.