Rainbow Moon was a game I reviewed on the PS Vita over two years ago. It was flawed in many ways but ultimately remained an enjoyable RPG experience. Now, the game makes yet another appearance, but this time, on the PS4. Even though it’s ultimately the same game, it’s now a much prettier version of itself.
By design, Rainbow Moon is a RPG with a heavy focus on grinding – and by heavy focus I mean that most of your playthrough will consist of battling monsters for loot and experience. There is a story of sorts, if you can call it that. Our hero is on his way to an annual dual with an evil wizard, but somehow gets caught in a trap and is whisked away to another dimension. From there he has to find a way back home and ultimately face-off against his nemesis.
That’s about it, really. It’s a premise and it sets up the world you’re about jump into but it’s hardly a motivation to keep playing. There’s a start and an end to the story, but nothing in between, and I guess, that’s fine. It’s clear that the story was never meant to be a big part of the game, so it never really bothered me. Playing this game on hard difficulty made me realize that even if there was a story, I spent so much time fighting monsters to keep my party at an adequate level that the pacing of a narrative would just end up feeling completely unbalanced.
You’ll spend most of your time in a loop consisting of exploring, fighting monsters, levelling up, getting better gear and fighting more monsters. There are also numerous NPCs offering side quests that you can do if you so wish and I have to mention though, their dialogue is presented in a hilarious tongue-in-cheek manner and while it is by means thought-provoking or even interesting, it was still entertaining and had me smiling and laughing on more than one occasion.
After battles characters gain experience points and level up as per usual, but unlike basic health and mana which increases automatically, your stats stay the same. That is where Rainbow Pearls come in. The character that deals the finishing blow will receive Pearls used to increase stats, so not only do you have to grind for exp but for Pearls as well, and it just adds an unnecessary layer of tedium on top of an already grind heavy game. It should be noted that Rainbow Pearls can be bought with real money too, which feels out of place in game like this. Another annoying mechanic is the hunger meter.
While playing, characters get hungry and if you don’t give them food, the meter will drop and they will eventually start losing health.
This serves no purpose whatsoever, and doesn’t really make sense from a gameplay perspective. It only detracts from the experience as you have to worry about feeding your characters as well as managing your inventory to make space for food. Rainbow Moon does do some really progressive things though. For instance, the game has random encounters (as well as on-screen enemies) and you’re actually given the choice when you want to engage them via a simple pop-up that appears as you explore. It’s a simple yet effective technique that completely eliminates the frustration that comes with random encounters.
Aside from my issues with the game, I really enjoyed the battle system. Combat is turn based and takes place on a grid that is akin to something you might find in a strategy RPG. Party members and enemies each take turns traversing the battlefield one block at a time and engaging each other in what seemed like really simple encounters. The simplicity was off-putting at first, but the combat gradually opened up and became much more engaging. Characters were able to use sub-turns which are essentially just extra turns and it became important to think about how you’ll act and move while managing the amount of turns you have left. Skills were also fun to use as their flashy nature and hard hitting effects really helped in energising battles.
While the combat isn’t necessarily complex, it had just enough depth and flare to keep me coming back for more. The only real advantage and change this version has over the others is the visuals. Being on the PS4 the environments and textures are much sharper and crisp and the joyful and vibrant aesthetic of the game really pops on screen. I mentioned in my previous review that the soundtrack is really excellent and deserves praise, and that hasn’t changed one bit. I still find it amazing that the soundtrack feels and sounds old-school but modern at the same time. Composer Rafael Dyll expertly displays his understanding of what made the music in older RPGs so special and the soundtrack even made me feel like I was playing an older Game Arts RPG at times.
Last Updated: February 25, 2016