Rainbow Moon came straight out of left field for me, up until a week before it’s European release I had never heard of the game. So you could imagine how surprised I was when I finally got to play it and realised how fun the game was and how much bang for your buck you actually get.
Bringing an exclusive Strategy RPG to the Playstation Network, Rainbow Moon casts you into the role of Baldren who is warped to an unknown world by his arch-rival, opening a string of dimensional gates with him, bringing an army of monsters that are intent of causing chaos and destruction throughout the whole of Rainbow Moon. It’s up to Baldren and a cast of colourful characters to bring peace back to the Moon and eventually get Baldren back to his home.
That’s the short and skinny of the story. It’s not original by any stretch of the imagination, but what the game lacks in riveting narrative certainly makes up for with the sheer amount of gameplay there is on offer here.
As mentioned earlier, Rainbow Moon is a Strategy RPG, with a huge emphasis on exploration. The Moon is vast with many areas to explore, from tiny Villages, Cities, Mountains and Caves, with secrets to be found in every nook and cranny. Like many RPG’s, the focus here is questing and levelling up your characters, consisting of a party, with new followers joining the ranks the further you progress into the story. Levelling your characters brings an increase to your statistics, making them more powerful and able to wield better weapons and more powerful spells. It’s a tried and tested formula, and one that doesn’t really tread any new ground. You are able to craft weapons with different materials you find throughout the land, but with so many different types of materials available, the system actually proves it’s self to be very deep, giving the RPG heads a lot to experiment with in order to create the most powerful character possible.
The questing is very basic, many consisting of fetching items for NPC’s from different locations, to having to clear a dungeon of enemies in order to progress the story. Again, all the fundamentals are there but nothing is ground-breaking.
Being a Strategy RPG, the combat system takes place on a grid with turn-based battles, with your character getting a certain number of moves with each turn. This is where you basically have to plan out how you want to attack. Whether you want to go head to head, or try to flank your enemies. Due to only having a set number of moves with each turn, you need to plan your strategy carefully and take into consideration any items you may need to use. The higher your level the more moves you get each turn. It sounds like a complicated system, but in practice it is really easy to get to grips with. I’ve never been a fan of these type of RPG’s, but Rainbow Moon has made this genre a lot of accessible in terms of it’s combat system. You can also read through past tutorials at any point in the game to refresh your memory.
That’s not to say that the game is a walk in the park. It can be extremely tough, especially in the beginning sections when you only control a low level Baldren and you come into contact with more than one enemy of a higher level. The game almost forces you to grind. This could potentially put off a lot of people, but Rainbow Moon wears it’s old-skool heart on it’s sleeve and wears it with pride.
It’s the grinding part of the game where the developers I believe have nailed it, because it has that addictive quality to it. I constantly find myself just wanting to have one more battle, which leads on to another battle and another battle, and before I know it, I have played an additional hour to what I originally intended to.
This is very important because of just how much gameplay there is on offer. Each of the characters in your party can level up all the way to 500. Adding to the sheer size of the world, plus all the story quests and ridiculous amounts of side quests to be had, and you could easily spend 100+ hours with the game. Infact, there is trophy attached to accumulating 100 hours of play time, and with a Platinum trophy also on offer here, eastasiasoft have concocted a game that will make RPG enthusiats want to keep playing.
It also makes it easier to spend extended time playing, due to the colourful graphics. It’s not the nicest looking game on the system, but the world is bright and colourful and very easy on the eye.
For the vast amount of content that Rainbow Moon offers, this could have easily been a full retail release, but instead eastasiasoft have chosen to release the game exclusively through the Playstation Network, where they hope it will find a bigger audience for such a niche type game, which admittedly won’t be everybody’s cup of tea. However, for £9.99/$14.99 there is definite bang for your buck here. Sure there could be improvements, such as a more interesting story, more imaginative enemy designs, and possibly co-op, but for the budget the developers had I believe they have done a remarkable job and the low price point just sweetens the deal.
There is more I could go into, such as the rather amusing dialogue, the weapons and armor you can gather, or even how you can rent out boats, but I don’t want to spoil anymore of the game. If you’re an RPG head there is a lot to like here, for the not so seasoned vets, Rainbow Moon could still prove to be a bit too hardcore despite it’s low entry cost. It’s definitely worth a try though. I’m having a blast and cannot wait to continue my adventure.
It’s also worth noting that rumours are beginning to circulate about the possibility of Rainbow Moon appearing on the PS Vita. Nothing concrete at this point, I’m guessing Sony are waiting to see how the game sells first, being a new IP, before unleashing it onto their shiny new Handheld. The thought of having cross platform saves and taking this great game on the go with me makes me giddy.
Rainbow Moon is finally available on the Playstation Vita, and it was definitely worth the wait. Although nothing has changed in terms on content, so I am not going to cover old ground that I have already spoken about above, the game certainly looks magnificent on the Vita’s OLED Screen. The gameplay remains very addictive and the Vita version also boasts more than 30 bug fixes and the biggest feature of all, cross-platform saves. Unfortunately there is no cross-buy option, meaning that you do need to buy the game twice in order to play the game on both your PS3 and Vita, but for those who do take the plunge, then there is definitely a lot you are getting for your money, and cross-saves mean you can take the game with you on the go and come home and carry on with the adventure on the big screen.
There is also a trial version that you can download, which enables you to play a full 90 minutes of the game to help you decide whether or not to buy, and for those that do purchase the game, all progress made within the trial is transferred over to the full game.
I stand by my original review, and would definitely recommend Rainbow Moon to the Playstation Vita crowd. It’s another worthwhile title to add to the already flourishing RPG list in the Vita’s library.