Moonrise is a 49,000-word urban fantasy interactive novel by Natalie Cannon. Created by a queer woman and made for queer women and femme nonbinary folk, this supernatural celebration of queer femininity takes the player into the darkness and lets them own it. As the newest werewolf in town, the player character can use their compassion and sense of responsibility to make connections and fall in love. Or use their newfound fangs and claws to rip, shred, and tear through their problems. With three unique endings, the player decides whether this is the start of a satisfying, shape-shifting life full of romance, or the blood-soaked birth of a new deity of the forest.
The player character can use she/her or they/them pronouns and has the option to state whether they are cis or trans. A trans player character unlocks unique dialog with the trans love interest. The player can also openly state they are asexual. Over the course of the game, the player character can choose to enter polyamorous, monogamous, or queer-platonic relationships with three unique love interests.
A secondary plot of Moonrise is the conflict between the Masquerade and the Rogues. The Masquerade faction wishes to keep the supernatural world secret from the non-supernatural mortals. The Rogues desire to “come out” to the broader world for a variety of reasons: some are tired of hiding their identity; some want to use their abilities publicly and/or for the benefit of humanity; some simply bear a grudge against Masquerade members. Regardless, there are a few parallels to the LGBTQ coming out experience.
The subtextual underpinnings in the Masquerade-Rogue conflict are a larger symptom of Moonrise’s focus on queer themes and topics. Besides the obvious focus on queer love and relationships, coming out, transition, acceptance, consent, expression, self-defense, the bear community, homo- and transphobia, and representation in media are all touched on. There are numerous references to books, TV shows, and video games where queerness meets the wolfish supernatural. In the stats page, there is an option to see a glossary of LGBTQ terms.
Moonrise is entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of the player’s imagination. The game is published through the Hosted Games subsidy of Choice of Games and is available for purchase on Google Play, Apple App Store, and Amazon.
A list of LGBTQ characters in Moonrise are as follows:
- Alice Emilia Devonfort: she/her, cis bisexual, demisexual
- Bisclavret: he/him, cis bisexual
- Dr. Cadwallader: he/him, cis bisexual
- Lady Cassandra Mallory: she/her, lesbian, aromantic
- Chika Itou: she/her, cis lesbian (romanceable)
- Cleo: she/her, cis pansexual
- Dawn: she/her, trans bisexual
- Elain: she/her, cis lesbian
- Illtyd: he/him, cis gay
- Ishara: she/her, trans lesbian (romanceable)
- Mary: she/her, cis bisexual
- Medusa: she/her, cis lesbian
- Naoki: she/her, cis lesbian
- Player character: player determinant
- Rosario de la Cruz: they/them, nonbinary pansexual (romanceable)
- Sati: xe/xer/xem, nonbinary bisexual
- Unnamed elderly lesbian couple
LGBTQ References in this game:
- Write up of game provided by Natalie Cannon.
- @el_l3cher0. (n.d.). Yacky ⍟⎊✪ (@el_l3cher0). Retrieved from https://twitter.com/el_l3cher0
- Cannon, N. (n.d.). Moonrise. Retrieved from https://www.choiceofgames.com/user-contributed/moonrise/#utm_medium=web&utm_source=ourgames