Surprisingly deep strategy RPG.
Developer: Sidequest Studios
Copy provided by publisher
I missed Rainbow Moon when it was released on PS3, I got it for free on PS plus and ever since then its languished in my downloaded games folder. I regret that decision now.
In Rainbow Moon you play as Baldren, a man thrown into another world by his rival Namoris, Baldren has one simple goal, get back home. This easy to grasp premise leads into a game that starts out simple but quickly starts to become a deep and rewarding strategy experience.
I’ll admit Rainbow Moon has taken me by surprise, what I first took for a simplistic, by-the numbers, strategy-lite RPG quickly revealed to me a surprising amount of depth once I started unlocking the ability to act twice within a turn. Exploration is similar to the likes of Diablo, with you traversing an isometric overworld and delving into the occasional dungeon in order to progress the plot and complete side quests. The real joy of the game however comes with its battle system. Everything starts out quite simple, Baldren can move, attack or use one of a plethora of abilities you learn through reading scrolls, at first you are limited to one action per turn, however once Baldren hits level 3 and gets his first sub-turn is where the battle system truly starts to shine. Sub-turns add to the amount of actions you can take per turn, allowing you to use more advanced tactics, with the system only getting deeper and more rewarding as you acquire additional party members and gain additional sub turns. In addition to this, you must also manage your inventory space, though you can purchase bag upgrades to mitigate this.
In addition to the simple but deep battle system, Rainbow Moon also has a fair amount of difficulty options available, making the game accessible as well as challenging. You start by choosing normal or hard difficulty settings, then after that you can choose one of four sets of starting equipment, the first is a full set of armour and weapons, the second is a large amount of currency so you can buy your own starting equipment, a selection of healing items or nothing at all. A few other nice features that help make the game more accessible include an auto-pause function if you’re away from the game for to long and losing a battle giving you the option to either return to the nearest town or continue as if you had never entered the battle, albeit at the cost of HP. This is one of those rare examples of a game pushing to be more accessible to newcomers, but not losing anything from what makes the game special.
The character progression is also a simple system, as you fight you’ll gain both experience points and Rainbow Pearls, experience simply levels up your character, with each level giving a bump to your overall stats. Rainbow Pearls are used when you visit an NPC called a Savant, in a system similar to the one used in Dark Souls, you pump Rainbow Pearls into each stat to increase them, giving you a degree of flexibility over your characters role in battle, the upper limit of each stat is still governed by your characters level however, so you can’t grind out a ton of Rainbow Pearls and turn your party into a trio of overpowered badasses after an hour of beating up weaker enemies.
Also worth noting is the music, Rafael Dyll did a fantastic job with this games score and it deserves a mention here.
However, Rainbow Moon is not without it’s downsides making your characters stronger often comes at the cost of some serious grinding for Rainbow Pearls as character level ups are few and far between and on some occasions the games difficulty will suddenly spike, forcing you into the grind.
Another concern is the possible presence of Microtransactions in the game as each town has a Network Shop NPC, though the shop is currently inaccessible as of the time of me writing this review so I cannot confirm this. The PS3 version of the game had Microtransactions in it and this was probably a contributing factor to me not playing it originally.
Overall I’ve enjoyed my time with Rainbow Moon and I’ll most likely continue playing it, though the grinding and sudden difficulty spikes may turn some people away. I’ll put a quick The good, the bad, the ugly style summary below, maybe I’ll make it a feature of my future reviews as well if people like it.
- Simple yet deep and rewarding strategic battle system.
- Highly accessible for newcomers to the genre but still challenging for veteran players
- Fantastic musical score.
- Sudden difficulty spikes can often force you to grind for experience.
- Microtransactions, lots of them.