Rainbow Moon is, for the most part, a pretty average game. No one aspect stands out above the rest as groundbreaking or new, but that’s perfectly fine. It’s a standard strategy RPG, but it works because it knows exactly what it wants to be. This combined with Rainbow Moon’s accessibility make it worth a look.
The story starts with Baldren, a warrior on his way to Ellje Woods to fight Namoris in a yearly duel. The wood, apparently notorious for having portals to other worlds, is quite dangerous. Knowing this, Namoris pushes Baldren into one of these portals, and then Baldren and a wave of monsters end up in a distant land. Rainbow Moon is his quest back home.
The story itself isn’t much to look at. It’s thin, but the important thing is, it’s aware of that. The dialogue with NPC’s is often filled with little jokes or puns that are never extremely funny, but will make you crack a smile every now and then. Sidequest Studios appear to know that the main attractions of Rainbow Moon are the fights, and they make sure that the story is always in the background providing flavor to the world. It may not be the greatest tale ever told, but it’s presented in a way that’s still enjoyable.
The core mechanics are pretty standard fare for the genre. Players control a cast of characters on various battlefields divided into grids. One chooses a formation ahead of time, then when a battle starts, it’s all turn based combat. Strategy is very important, as one misstep can lead to a lost battle in later parts of the game. Death, although, isn’t that big of a deal. The repercussions for wiping in a fight are very forgiving, and save spots are non-existent, as players can save anywhere. Some may see this as a negative, but it cuts out a lot of unnecessary steps, allowing you to get back into the action as soon as possible.
Battles have a constant back and forth between player and foe, as every weapon or ability has a foil. Each weapon has an opposing type it’s weak against and one it’s stronger than, providing a a rock-paper-scissors style of combat. This can get confusing, as there are a lot of weapon types, but after a few battles with a new character, their weaknesses become easily recognizable. Fights are frequently just hard enough to make the player feel smart, but not difficult enough to feel cheap.
The entertaining battles are complemented well with the leveling system. In addition to the regular tropes of experience points and levels, characters are also rewarded with Rainbow Pearls. These are separate from other forms of currency, and are spent to upgrade party members core stats. The only downside to this is characters must deal a killing blow get Rainbow Pearls. It’s an unnecessary complexity that only serves to force grinding.
Not that grinding is a chore, as Sidequest Studios made an impressive workaround that allows players to fight as much, or as little, as they wish. While running through dungeons there are monsters roaming which will force battles when touched, but there are also random battles which aren’t forced. Prompts will constantly be popping up on the bottom of the screen showing you a random battle that can occur, but only will if the player wishes. With a simple press of the X button they start like any other battle, but they can just as easily be ignored.
With all of the numbers and systems to keep track of, there are points when Rainbow Moon becomes overburdened. There’s a bare bones hunger mechanic, which forces each party member to consume food and other such items to keep their hunger meter full, but the reward from this is never really noticeable. Unlike most of the other systems which provide tangible rewards, it seems tacked on, and is nothing more than a nuisance after the first few hours. Equipment can also be upgraded through a minimal crafting system, but it does add another level of intricacy to the stat management.
Rainbow Moon really is an enjoyable game. It combines accessibility with complexity for a straightforward, yet still enjoyable experience. And all of the stat management scratches an itch that will keep RPG fans coming back for more. If you’re in the mood for some good old-fashioned strategy RPG combat, Rainbow Moon is exactly what you want.
Rainbow Moon is currently available on the PlayStation Network for $14.99. If you have any further interest, let us know in the comments below or over in our forums.
Rainbow Moon was developed by SideQuest Studios and published by eastasiasoft. A PSN copy was provided by the publisher for the purposes of review.