Rainbow Moon. When most people hear that name, they might find themselves thinking about some classic, colorful cartoon intended for a young audience, but in this case, they couldn’t be farther from the truth. Rainbow Moon is SideQuest Studios’ third game (they developed Soldner X and Soldner X-2), a retro-styled RPG intended for a hardcore audience. If your a fan of upgrading your character to the point of indestructibility and grinding to farm for experience and better gear, Rainbow Moon is the game for you.
Rainbow Moon stars Bouldren, who has been coursed and warped to the mystical Rainbow Moon by his arch-rival. And to make matters worse, the same portal that brought him there is letting legions of monsters spill in and threaten to destroy this beautiful planet. Not it’s up to Bouldren and the companions he’ll meet along the way to rid the planet of its unwelcome visitors and return to his rightful home. Rainbow Moon spins a cohesive yet very simple tale, one that you will probably throw by the wayside once you get into the meat and bones of the game. The game’s name is grinding, and that’s what you’ll do the most throughout its 30-40 hour length (for just $15!).
The game pushes story to the side and focuses almost solely on its gameplay. As soon as you start the game and watch the short story intro, you’re thrust into the world to fight against a big cast of monsters. Not only are the game’s graphics colorful and vivid, but it also sports a big variety of locals and creatures to face off against. This is where you’ll get the most enjoyment out of the game: the combat. The enemy encounters are handled in two ways: sometimes you’ll be able to see them while you explore and decide if you want to engage with them, and other times you’ll get randomly thrown into a battle, similar to some of the Final Fantasy games. Also, the combat is set up in a style similar to Disgaea and Final Fantasy Tactics, where you move your characters along a grid in accordance to their turn. The game will show you a small timeline, which depicts the order of your turns and the enemies. This proves useful to the player, in that they can plan a strategy against the many enemies since they know when their turn will play out.
Your party consists of up to three players, each with their own unique skills. Your characters will be limited upon the grid sometimes by the amount of moves than can be executed during each turn and by the reach and speed of the characters themselves and their attacks. You’ll move your characters around, set them up where you like (provided they can reach that part of the grid) and attack the enemies if you’re able to. Once you’ve used up your moves, the enemy moves against you and then the whole process is repeated until you or the enemy are victorious.
Outside of battle, the game functions as you’d expect a typical RPG to work. You’re presented with robust menus depicting all manner of options and customization options for your characters. You’ll be able to select their skills, their armor, weapons and more. Where the game sets itself apart is with its handling of currency. You have two different incomes: Rainbow coins, which you can use to purchase everything from potions, armor, weapons, skills and more, and Rainbow Pearls, which serve to upgrade character traits life defense, strength, speed and more.
You will also come across various items acquired in and out of combat, and some of these can be used to augment a character’s current gear to make it even more powerful than it already is. It’s a system similar to Diablo’s gem system to improve your equipment and it’s most welcome.
Other than that, the game is set up in a very familiar way: you will pick up both main story missions and side missions from various NPC’s strewn across the many towns, forests, dungeons etc. You go, complete them and get reward with items and XP. It can be anything from defeating a specific number of enemies to retrieving an item. It’s a system that is very low on story but very high on enjoyment. RPG fans will have a blast just destroying everything in their path and making their team all the more daunting.
All in all, the biggest gripe than can be laid against Rainbow Moon is that it will definitely not be a game for everyone, especially if it’s someone who’s not committed to give up a large amount of time from their lives. It’s a game that is accessible and easy to understand, even though it has some depth hidden under its charming looks. But Rainbow Moon is also a serious time investment and it will prove immensely enjoyable to those willing to let the game sink it’s claws into them. If you love RPG’s, especially the ones you held dear during your childhood, the Rainbow Moon is definitely without a doubt the game for you.
Thanks to SideQuest Studios and EastAsiaSoft for providing a copy for review.