by Tim Bagwell on July 6, 2012 @ 3:40 pm
First, I would like to start off my review of Rainbow Moon by saying that I was addicted well before I had played the game. Actually playing it verified everything I had hoped the game would be. To be honest, I’m not sure I will do the game justice with my review, but I will try. My hope is simply that you enjoy the review and hopefully purchase this amazing game afterwards.
Rainbow Moon tells the story of Baldren, a hero who sets off to battle his arch-nemesis when he happens upon a strange portal. While inspecting the portal he is attacked by his nemesis and unwillingly thrust into the portal and transported to Rainbow Moon along with countless evil minions. Upon waking up in this strange land he soon discovers that the moon is filled with these evil monsters and the inhabitants all blame him and charge him to set things right. So begins his quest to rid Rainbow Moon of these evil beasts and find a way to get back to his rightful home.
The graphics? Beautiful. Ok, that part of the review is done. That was easy! All kidding aside the game is gorgeous to look at in 1080p full HD. Characters, animations, monsters and the many environments are all very detailed and crisp. Changing into new types of armor allow you to not only improve your stats but also the look of your characters which for me makes getting that new piece of gear worth the effort but also adds a lot of depth of customization-wise, something that RPGs can’t afford to do without these days.
Gameplay: the meat and potatoes of Rainbow Moon. Pretty screenshots and trailers are nice to look at but how does it play? Having played countless strategy RPGs over the years, I would have to say Rainbow Moon is one of my favorites. As you’d expect, battles take place on an overhead grid and while the formula is nothing new, it is most importantly fun and challenging. Movement is turn based and your speed stat determines the order and how far you can move your character. While you start the game with one move per turn and limited mobility for each character, over time through leveling and earning “sub-turns” you can go further and perform more actions. Movement is controlled either via the D pad or left stick and for the most part using the stick to move is fine, however, I would like to stress using the D pad as there are times where you intend to move one way but go the other with the stick-based controls. It’s not a gamebreaker and your movement choices do have D pad directions highlighted for you but in a game where strategy is the basis of combat you want those party members going where you want them to right?
Leveling up affords you new stats such as HP, MP, sub-turns and skill points to use for passive skills which are granted from accessories you equip. Other stats are leveled manually, in accordance with your actual level by the means of spending Rainbow Pearls (RP) that you can acquire in combat or via purchasable “booster” DLC packs from the PSN. The interesting part is how these are obtained in combat. Only the party member handing out the killing blow will be the one acquiring RP on a per enemy basis. When the battle is over RP is awarded to party members based on how many kills were made by each character. Rely on one character too often and someone else is going to suffer in the stat department, making them easy prey for your enemies or just plain useless later on.
Skills are generally special attacks, battle enhancements or out of combat abilities that are acquired from vendor NPCs, treasure chests and quest rewards. Leveling them up is as simple as using them repeatedly to enhance their effects. You can see their growth and levels from the menus Skill tab. Forgot to stock up on torches? No worries, there’s a skill for that. Need a new special attack for battle? Plenty of skills available and many more open up the further you level and progress. Party members getting hungry? There’s even a skill for some instant food you can feed them. Wait… hunger system? Yes there is one in Rainbow Moon and you are going to want to keep it in check or your characters hp is going to suffer. I would normally gripe here about a hunger system but it never got to the point of being annoying. Food is readily obtainable from vendors and can be found everywhere throughout your journey. So while a hunger aspect may not be my cup of tea, it’s not an aspect that hindered my enjoyment.
When I first started my journey in Rainbow Moon quests were few but what few there were I rather enjoyed. By the time I had moved on to another continent I had taken up several quests to keep me busy. From what I have played none of them were too tedious or boring. Your main quest will send you all over the place and you want the locals to like you right? I’m a busybody anyway so the more a game can give me to do the better!
Last but not least in the gameplay department is the crafting aspect of Rainbow Moon. You can craft with any weapons and armor by using items you acquire from enemies and treasure chests. While you won’t be making your gear from scratch you can add stat and skill bonuses to them by crafting. Some weapons and armor can have up to one stat enhanced while others may allow more. You can see the effect crating will have with items before you craft and there is even tell of some unseen bonuses through trial and error. Best advice I can pass along is to save beforehand on any of these mystery crafting experiments! I could imagine some eventual DLC for the crafting system especially considering how the aesthetic changes for character appearance based on your gear. I could type here forever and never begin to explain the sheer amount of depth in Rainbow Moon.
As for the music, it is an aspect that I think of or even consider when purchasing a video game. In Rainbow Moon, I kept this in mind and made it a point to listen with the volume up so I would take notice. I will say that the music was well done and added some nice touches to the game, especially in boss battles. If I had to pick what I liked the most I would say the sound effects. From the footsteps skeleton enemies made to the swing of your sword it just sounds real. Sometimes it’s the little nuances that you notice.
All in all barring a few minor hiccups, the gameplay in Rainbow Moon shines. There are plenty of things to keep you entertained for an insane amount of hours, characters to customize, many challenging bosses to defeat, as well as a diverse range of locales and things to discover. This gives Rainbow Moon a unique nostalgia appeal to the great strategy RPGs of old, while cementing itself in the genre for many years and hopeful sequels to come. I’m not even going to pretend that I did this game justice with this review, as I feel it is a masterpiece that I hope you all take the time to enjoy. Sidequest Studios and Eastasiasoft really have one of those franchise starting games with Rainbow Moon and I believe that when the game is finally released for SCEA on the 10th, you will too. It’s that good. I’d like to extend thanks to Eastasiasoft for the chance to not only play this amazing game but to give me hope for future games in this genre.
Rainbow Moon was developed by SideQuest Studios and published by Eastasiasoft for the PlayStation 3 with a July 10th release on PSN. A copy was provided for reviewing purposes.
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