Rainbow Moon is a strategy RPG exclusive to Sony’s Playstation Network. The game was developed by SideQuest Studios and published through EastAsiaSoft in July, 2012 for both European and North American territories. Boasting forty hours of content for $15, Rainbow Moon almost seemed too good to be true. After spending the better part of two weeks with it, I’m happy to report that Rainbow Moon delivers.
Gameplay involves a blend of isometric dungeon crawler with turn-based tactical combat. The dungeon crawler aspect is full of little opportunities to tackle side quests that offer a bevy of rewards. These side quests are triggered through quirky conversations with non-playable characters. As you venture out from safe zones, loot hunting becomes vital to keeping your health supplies well stocked. This leads into the other major aspect of the game, combat. Enemy characters visibly block your path and will have to be defeated to clear the route whereas random encounters are completely optional. This puts a lot of control in the players hand over how they engage each situation. When an encounter occurs, the player is treated to traditional strategy RPG combat where each side takes turns moving, attacking, looting, and deploying specialized skills.
There are many smaller mechanics in play with Rainbow Moon. There’s a crafting element where materials and items can be combined to strengthen a particular item’s stats. Accumulated Rainbow Pearls are cashed in to increase individual character stats. Skills can be assigned and have their own level based on frequency of use. Characters can go hungry and will need to be fed regularly. Additional levels unlock sub-moves which are best described as additional actions that can be taken in a single move. Each mechanic is gradually introduced and thoroughly explained through tutorials. It’s very easy for a beginner to pick up on and before long you’ll feel like a master as you balance all the different elements.
The visuals are, simply put, gorgeous. The warm lush colors immediately draw you in. Backgrounds are full of details and small animated movements. Character designs are imaginative yet sensible. That’s right, no outlandish zippers and silly layers here. Your character's gear changes according to what’s equipped. It’s all a very natural evolution of the kind of vibrant atmosphere that populated RPGs from previous generations. It looks fantastic on a big screen HD set to boot.
Now before I get into this, please understand that the offered DLC in no way affected my enjoyment of the game itself. However, I’m personally not a fan of the concept in the way it’s handled here. Lazy players can buy stat building Rainbow Pearls and items for a couple of extra bucks instead of, you know, playing the game. I can’t blame the developers/publisher for trying to cash in, but to me this just defeats the whole purpose of even bothering.
Rainbow Moon is a damn fine game. Even if you’re still on the fence, you can download a demo from PSN to find out for yourself. While I have no interest in the DLC, the main game offers plenty to keep you entertained for hours on end.
Four out of Five Hadokens