Review: Rainbow Moon (PS3)

Title: Rainbow Moon
Format: PlayStation Network Download (1.8 GB)
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: EastAsiaSoft
Developer: SideQuest Studios
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: E

Rainbow Moon is an old-school, grid-based, RPG developed by SideQuest Studios. It pays homage to the games that came before it, almost like a celebration in the art of grinding and dungeon crawling. Your character, Baldren, gets caught in a portal that sends him another dimension and into a new world. Unfortunately, your trip allows monsters to invade the new world as well. You are tasked with destroying the monsters, all while working towards getting back home safely. You’ll meet many characters and gain companions along the way. Overall, the story leaves a little to be desired. There isn’t much to it and you won’t get wrapped up in what they’ve created. Luckily, gameplay was the major focus of SideQuest Studios in Rainbow Moon.

The combat in Rainbow Moon starts out simple enough. If you have ever played a turn-based strategy game, you’ll be right at home. You’ll take turns positioning your characters and then attacking. As you progress through the game, you can purchase new moves and spells along the way. Each character also brings a unique approach to combat. The level of strategy is very impressive. It almost reminds me of Final Fantasy Tactics.

As you wander through the wilderness, you’ll see enemies flying around. If you run into them, the combat starts. Some enemies you have to attack, while others you can avoid. Rainbow Moon also features a day/night cycle. During the day time, shops are open, people are around to talk to, and enemies are a little more shy about showing themselves. But during the night, enemies are abundant while shops are closed down. You’ll also have to use torches, a limited resource, to see in dungeons. All of this brings another level of strategy that I thoroughly enjoyed. You really have to think about when to explore and when to rest.

Rainbow Moon boasts a lot of tutorials, but overall the learning curve goes quick. Some new elements later in the game take a bit getting used to, but they’re nothing detrimental. Both beginners and experts should feel at home with Rainbow Moon. The game has a few different variations in difficulty and starting equipment. It is recommended that beginners and non-RPG fans start at Easy or Normal, as those require little grinding. But for the hardcore dungeon-crawlers out there, the hard mode requires a lot of level grinding. And I’ll be honest, Rainbow Moon on hard mode could be seen as the Dark Souls of turn-based strategy. The game will kick your butt if you’re not smart about the moves you make. But just like Dark Souls, Rainbow Moon is an extremely satisfying game if completed. The player can also choose what starting equipment they want. You can go fully loaded, semi-loaded, or with the bare minimum. The beginning is tough if you only have the bare minimum, but later the game rewards you for your strife. Rainbow Moon is an RPG, so I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention those elements. The game has plenty of armor, weaponry, and potions to buy and upgrade.

Oh, and this game is huge! For one, there is a trophy for playing the game for over 100 hours. That should give you a rough estimate of how much content Rainbow Moon is packing. It isn’t a game you can just breeze through. The missions are tough and pretty grind heavy, but rewarding once you complete them. Don’t expect a lot of mission variation, there’s plenty of fetch missions, but you never really get caught up in it. It always feels like you are working towards something much bigger (maybe that “Reach Level 500 Trophy”). Overall, the gameplay is fantastic.

Rainbow Moon is gorgeous. I’m a writer, but this is a case where a picture says a thousand words. The colors are crisp. The world is engrossing and just pleasant to see. The character models are pretty simple, but still nice to look at. The animations are good as well. Each move has its own animation, and as your move list expands, so do the animations. You won’t see any super ridiculous attacks like you might see in the Disgaea series, but each move is unique and fits well into the world you’re playing in.

The music of Rainbow Moon is being loved critically. Some people compare it to classics like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy. I loved exploring the world while listening to the soundtrack and didn’t once get annoyed with the music. It was a nostalgia trip from some of older SNES RPG’s. There is not much to the voice acting. The shop owners have a quirky “hello” and “goodbye” but nothing else.

Rainbow Moon does not feature multiplayer. The game does have places that you can upload your data to an online resource so you can compare your scores and create a player card to show off. It’s a nice way for fans of the game to create a little community and compare stats.

I’m 30 hours into Rainbow Moon and I haven’t beaten it yet. Take that with a grain of salt. Rainbow Moon knows exactly what it is is, an old-school, turn-based RPG. It doesn’t apologize for that. This will be a game for a certain audience, for a particular crowd. It’s niche. But with all that considered, it’s near perfection in the genre. The visuals and sound are top notch. The gameplay is perfect for what it is. There is a ton of content for only $15. If you are a fan of dungeon crawling, level-grinding, strategy games, then it’s a must buy. If not, I might point you in another direction.


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