Rainbow Moon is a RPG developed by SideQuest Studios and published by Eastasiasoft Limited on February 16th, 2016 for the PlayStation 4. The copy was provided to The Hidden Levels for review purposes.
It’s time to adventure to a world where monsters roam freely along with lots and lots of wannabe heroes. You’ll be the top wannabe hero as you gain allies, fight the forces of evil, gain new skills, and eventually conquer the satellite known as Rainbow Moon. Rainbow Moon was released for the PlayStation 3/Vita back in 2012 and soon made a name for itself. Praise for SideQuest Studios’ turn-based adventure helped to bring it to the PlayStation 4, but will that be a reason to get this ported version?
What I enjoyed:
World is big: I mean, it’s huge! There’s so much to explore and a player can put many hours into adventuring through it. There’s a lot of enemies to defeat thanks to the encounter-system that lets you face more enemies instead of only the ones that appear roaming around. You’re also able to reject any encounters simply by ignoring them as you progress through a map. There are many different “dungeons” to explore in every area and lots of different locations including mountains, caves, forests, volcanoes and more. They environments both look great and offer enemy encounters that match the player’s so that you’re able to grind your level in that area up to a certain point. You can spend a lot of time just exploring and trying to find any chests through the area that can have skill scrolls, food, and coins.
Turn-based gameplay is well-done: Along with the different characters that join your party and the variety of enemies you’ll come to face (more on that ahead) later in the game, the complexity in battle’s increases. More enemies will be scattered on the map, blocking off chances to set up strategies and becoming overwhelming. This can back the player up into a corner if they’re not careful and it’s up to them to use the battling party, their skills, and items to try and take on the large force. It both makes the player think and feel like a total badass once they defeat a horde of undead soldiers.
Background music is pretty catchy: Throughout the areas you will adventure through you will encounter music that accordingly suits it. They range from dark tones in caves to bright, jaunty music in open and forested areas. Normally turn-based titles I feel like the soundtrack gets annoying with its repetitive tones; however, this title offers good tracks that make you pumped for battle or excited to explore a new environment. This varies upon new places you go to, and doesn’t just remain the same track throughout every battle.
Creatures are varied/random: Right from the beginning you’ll fight off against some pretty weird creatures that aren’t too far-fetched when it comes to fantasy titles. Imps, large killer bees, wannabe heroes, and more. The game pits you up against a strange array of enemies that typically get stronger and perform more complex attack patterns later on in the game. Some will position themselves for long-ranged barrages while others will be able to move a lot of spaces to confront you head on.
Skills are awesome: You are able to acquire different skill scrolls from chests or shopkeepers that are centered around a certain character’s fighting style. These are neat because you can level them up by using them more in battle or in the adventure portion, making it grow with repetitive action instead of just adding in points; it feels as if you’re practicing each skill to make it stronger. This really adds to the replay value as this gives you two options: either follow a certain pattern with select skills that’ll grow really strong the more you use them or try out everything to level them up.
What I disliked:
Story is bland/boring: There was nothing that was drawing about the story, at all. Baldren (or whatever you name him afterwards) was transported by his mortal enemy through a portal to Rainbow Moon which brought about all of the creatures you encounter, as well. Afterwards, the game is all about completing quests according to the story and very few side quests whenever you enter a village. There are no voice actors for the game except the random blurb of small talk from the villagers, and this doesn’t make it feel immersive at all.
Graphics/design are too simple: Although some of the environments look great, a lot of the designs for characters and enemies seem too simple and childish. It gets confusing as the game tries to be taken seriously with its story and gameplay yet everything looks straight out of a younger audience’s game. If some more care was taken into the design of the characters — or making them look more serious — it would have really added to the appeal for all players to give the game a try. Instead, many players will look at it from the outside and think it’s just a child’s game. Not that children’s games aren’t playable by adults, but it doesn’t add to the overall appeal.
Hunger gauge is frustratingly unnecessary:This is just an additional gameplay element that feels really out of place in Rainbow Moon. Although the adventuring portion of the game does feel a bit bland with going around, interacting with people, and picking up objects; this makes you find food in order to keep your hunger level up with damage to your health being the repercussion of not doing so. You’ll have to scrounge for food in chests or dropped by enemies in battle, which will become frustrating when it doesn’t happen often forcing you to spend your hard earned Rainbow Coins at the shopkeeper to get some, which feels wasteful. It doesn’t add a fun element to the game and just tends to be gimmicky.
Can’t level out-of-party characters: Unfortunately there’s no way to level the characters that you aren’t using, leaving you to level them up later after finishing with the three that are in your battling party. This means that you’ll have to play with every character and party level with your strongest and weakest. Switching normally between the characters doesn’t add much growth, and will become a grind and exhausting as you try to raise each of their stats. It becomes cumbersome, as well, when you try to level up a low level character and high level, as later on enemies can throw projectiles, making you worry about keeping the lower level character alive to gain experience.
In conclusion, Rainbow Moon is a game that’s really fun in terms of gameplay and a player can easily spend lots of hours into playing but isn’t the best looking game. The world is huge to explore and there are many enemies to face but the design of the characters doesn’t add to the appeal and many of the gameplay elements feel unnecessary such as the hunger bar. I’d definitely recommend the game considering that it offers a solid gameplay experience and lots of replay value, but it’s not the most innovative games of this time and there are plenty of others to play whilst waiting for a sale to come along.
Recommendation: Wait for a sale.
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