by Ingvi Snædal
reviewed on PS3
Something cute coming out of Germany
Rainbow Moon is a game, I must admit, I had my doubts about. I have never been much of a turn-based strategy Role-Playing Game fan. Developed by Germany-based SideQuest Studios and published by EastAsiaSoft, its overall aesthetic theme is a Manga-inspired Japanese RPG style with all the cartoony colours, creative monsters, and over-all childishness that goes with it. Because of that, I was expecting a simple, easy-to-pick-up game targeted towards children. And in a way, that’s what it was at first, but as you progress further into the game, that’s when the years of experience with strategy gameplay come in handy.
I must hand it to the developers: they have really managed to polish the game’s difficulty curve to perfection. Before the game starts you’re presented with a choice of difficulty (normal or hard) and Play Style. The Play Style choices are simply a choice of your character’s starting loadout, and I found myself drawn to the “Adventuresome” option, as it starts you off with no money and no equipment, but hints towards a hidden benefit to be reaped later on. When the game starts, you are given a brief back-story of how you were betrayed by an enemy who challenged you to a fight and then tricked you through a mysterious magic portal which sends you to an unknown island and opens the floodgates for an invasion of monsters into the land. The story in itself is not that interesting or important, but the charming cartoony aesthetic of the game will leave vivid images playing in your mind, long after you have turned the console off.
When you are finally thrown out into the world, you may find the game a bit monotonous to begin with. Your character will only face one type of enemy with a single mode of attack until you reach the first village. Until then, you’ll just be grinding the same monsters over and over. But by the time you get your first skill, the shield bash, you’ll have perfected a strategy for dealing with those pesky imps. As your character’s stats and arsenal of skills, allies, and abilities get bigger, the game gets progressively more difficult and complex, forcing you to adapt a new strategy for each combination of enemies.
Complications arose, ensued, were overcome
The first time I faced a Golem in battle, for instance, he kept chasing after my archer rather than attacking my fighter head-on. I thought to myself: “What a stupid Golem” and ordered my archer to run around my fighter each turn lining him up for attack. Suddenly, the Golem had two turns in a row, caught up with my archer, killed him with two blows and then turned his attention to my fighter, of whom he made quick work as well. Turns out, he wasn’t so stupid after all. What I failed to realise, was that bow weapons gain a 37,5% attack bonus against the Golem. He was simply going after the biggest threat. In addition; his speed stats were higher than mine, so it was only a matter of time until he got an extra turn.
This is just one example of the depth of strategy this game offers later on, and you can just imagine how complicated it can get when facing 10 enemies of different types with only three characters on the table. It gets confusing, it gets hectic, and most importantly: it gets fun.
Well-tuned gameplay mechanics, diverse and addictive gameplay, perfect learning curve.
Lots of grinding, annoying inventory system and user interface.