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Moonlighter: Between Dimensions Review: Gauntlet

/ Sep 14th, 2020 No Comments

Moonlighter: Between Dimensions Review

A profound seachange in video game development since the advent of easy digital distribution has been the rise of downloadable content. While there are philosophical and ethical back-and-forths about DLC, the hard truth is the release of the game no longer means there won’t be additional content coming out.

Whether a developer or publisher announces DLC plans prior to the actual game’s release or not is a matter of approach. Regardless of what you think of DLC practice or promotion, DLC lives and dies by one simple fact: does it bring you back into a game after you’ve finished the core game?

Moonlighter was an absolute delight when we reviewed it back in 2018. It wowed us with its clever mix of action-adventure roguelite dungeon crawling and store management sim. The gorgeous pixel graphics were charming and it had a great soundtrack. While the four dungeons and fifth door kept us busy, we found ourselves wanting more when it was over.

Luckily, 11 bit studios and Digital Sun knew we needed more. Between Dimensions is an expansion DLC for Moonlighter that gives players an opportunity to visit Rynoka again.

Back into the Fray

Between Dimensions picks up three months following the conclusion of Moonlighter (important note: you need to complete base Moonlighter to access the new DLC). Will has been chilling when the Watchers show up. It turns out a new dimensions portal has popped up, and they’ve requested Will close it from the inside. To reward him for such a difficult task, they’ll waive any penalties that would normally occur for removing dimensional artifacts from the dungeon. Real sweethearts!

Moonlighter: Between Dimensions Review
It is extremely nice of them to look the other way.

Regardless of how magnamious the Watcher’s deal is, it does allow Will free reign to explore this mysterious new dungeon and sell what he finds inside. That’s good too because the goods inside are worth some real scratch. Without worry of penalties or worse, arrest, Will can supply Rynoka with plenty of new materials. More relevant, he can line his pockets and increase the Moonlighter’s profits.

Don’t be too quick to sell all your new loot, however. There is plenty of new equipment to craft. From stronger armor to more powerful weapons, this new gear will be invaluable as you attempt to close the portal. The drawback is it requires a lot of the new materials, and some serious coins to craft. So, it is a delicate balance between hoarding and selling. This important push and pull is what makes selling in Moonlight so compelling.

Moonlighter: Between Dimensions Review
Between Dimensions brings back the thrill of running your own shop and giving it importance again.

In Moonlighter, by the final dungeon, it was easy to amass a fortune and be so loaded that you could buy anything. It made selling materials superfluous. Re-aligning the cost of potions, enchantments, and armor means you can get back into the selling game. Running the shop day-to-day was definitely what makes Moonlighter unique. So that gaining importance makes Between Dimensions hugely successful.

Once you drop into the actual Between Dimensions dungeon, prepare for a challenge. Unlike the base dungeons, this is a gauntlet. Rather than 3 rooms and a boss fight. You have to climb 10 floors to best it with mini-bosses sprinkled throughout. The new enemies pack a punch with old foes amped up to five. If you aren’t upgrading your gear quickly then you’re going to be trying to kill a bear with a flyswatter.

Moonlighter: Between Dimensions Review
Opening the check points at various floors of the new dungeon will save you a lot of headache when trying to best it.

While that seems wild considering how volatile dungeon exploring can be (not to mention being over encumbered by loot), the game smartly litters little summits between every 2 floors. At these respites, you can find a mysterious vendor who sells new gear and potions. More importantly, he can open a portal that lets you jump back into that floor. It turns it from frustratingly punishing into a delightful challenge.

Ultimately, Between Dimensions gives players a perfect reason to hop back into Moonlighter. It provides more strong dungeon exploring and loot grabbing. However, its major success is making the shop management feel relevant again. Discovering new prices related to new loot lets you tinker and amass a fortune, which is all you want to do.

Overall

Moonlighter: Between Dimensions definitely hits the mark for DLC because it makes you want to dive back into the game’s world. The new dungeon is huge with new challenges to overcome and more importantly, new items to sell. If you needed another reason to lose hours in Rynoka exploring dungeons and making that paper then Between Dimensions has you covered!

Moonlighter: Between Dimensions was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the publisher.

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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MOONLIGHTER: BETWEEN DIMENSIONS REVIEW: GAUNTLET

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall87%

GAMEPLAY9

The highlight of Between Dimensions is getting another dungeon to explore with new material to sell and new equipment to craft.

GRAPHICS9

Moonlighter’s pixel art style is still gorgeous and the new dungeon and enemies look great! The performance issues that hurt the original release have been smoothed.

SOUND9

Sonically, Moonlight remains a joy to listen to as you complete the new dungeon and sell some stuff.

STORY8

Between Dimensions definitely has the hey wait a minute, what about this feel. However, it does a good job deepening the lore of the game.