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Rainbow Moon (PS3) Review

/ Jul 9th, 2012 5 Comments

Rainbow Moon - Worlds are Full of Life
Rainbow Moon (PS3) Review

Rainbow Moon (PS3) Review

Rainbow Moon on the PlayStation 3 makes no effort to hide its influences.  As soon as the game starts up you are greeted to a title screen with a logo and creature art reminiscent of long-running JRPGs like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest.  After hearing the orchestral main theme and pushing start you begin to realize that you are in for something you haven’t played in a while:  a genuine old-school RPG.  Rainbow Moon sports all the level grinding, inventory management, and turn-based battle mechanics that you would expect from a game of this type.

Rainbow Moon’s plot revolves around our hero Baldren being teleported to the titular moon through a dimensional gate by his rival Namoris.  Even worse is the fact that nasty monsters are pouring through the gate and disrupting the lives of Rainbow Moon’s citizens with their ire directed at Baldren.  Not only does he need to fix his reputation but he also must find a way to open the gate and get back home.  The plot here isn’t anything unique and certainly isn’t the main focus of the game (something the developers allude to in their own forums).  What story there is actually serves as a backbone to some humorous and tongue-in-cheek character interactions.  Often a character will give you a side quest and blatantly say it’s a fetch quest.  Dialogue frequently pokes fun at typical RPG tropes and whether it is intentional or from the translation, I often found myself chuckling from certain speeches especially when a mild curse word was thrown in.

Rainbow Moon - Worlds are Full of Life

Rainbow Moon – Worlds are Full of Life

Before you even begin a battle you will notice just how pretty Rainbow Moon is.  The game jumps at you with a bright palette full of green forests, snowy hills, and busy villages; even the dark dungeons that teem with evil have a life of their own.  Nothing here is striving for next-gen fidelity; doing so would have sacrificed the old-school charm.  The bestiary is full of skeletons, slimes, golems, and other typical types of baddies that not only look good but (like other RPGs) change color schemes based on strength.  Though the same can’t always be said for other character models I loved seeing my party updated with all their recently bought equipment and weapons.

If you are going to be fighting battle after battle to grind out some experience then it is crucial that the music be good because you are going to hear it over and over.  Thankfully, the soundtrack here is fun and catchy.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself humming a battle or world theme here and there…now whether it’s because you’ve heard it so many times or not is up for debate.  A dog will howl when you kill it, a crystal enemy will make a shattering sound when hit; shop owners “hi” and “bye” you with their various sound bites. Everything sounds like you would expect it to and fits with the aesthetic of the game.

How Rainbow Moon plays is what is really going to convince you whether or not the game is worth it.  Personally, I’m not too experienced with strategy and tactical RPGs and was a bit nervous about approaching the combat.  I know that some of these games can get complex to the point of being convoluted; but from the onset Rainbow Moon welcomes you with open arms, easing you into its gameplay.  Whenever something new happens a tutorial pops up and you can revisit them at any time.  Your characters and enemies are placed on a grid and given a select number of turns in which to move and attack.  Part of the strategy is getting yourself in the right position and then deciding whether to attack, use a skill, defend, or even escape if the fight seems too tough.  Victory will result in two things:  gaining experience and gaining Rainbow Pearls.  Experience is rewarded to any character left alive at the end of a battle and Rainbow Pearls are given for each monster defeated but only to who gave the killing blow.  While experience will help raise your level, Rainbow Pearls are necessary because you cash them in to raise individual stats such as strength, speed, and HP.  The game’s currency is Rainbow Coins which you will use to buy food, recovery items, weapons, and equipment.  Weapons and equipment have material slots to raise their stats as well; there’s plenty of options to make sure you can build the character you want.  Another element of the game I appreciated was the addition of not only a night and day mechanic but the use of different days.  Where one day might grant you more Rainbow Pearls, another might affect your hunger meter differently; the mechanic will slowly reveal itself and add another layer to the game.

The gameplay ties into two of the most interesting elements of Rainbow Moon:  the difficulty and the longevity.  If you want it to be, the game can get tough.  At the beginning you can select either normal or hard difficulties.  Personally, I wanted the challenge so I chose hard (the game warns you that it requires a lot of grinding).  Not only will you get your butt kicked in the first few hours of the game but you will have to constantly grind just to survive the first dungeon.  Fighting random battles is a must but keep in mind that developer SideQuest Studios gives you ample warning and holds your hand enough at first to make sure nothing is impossible.  After all, this is an homage to the old-school and plenty of those required you to work for victory.  Even on normal there’s still proof of this underlying difficulty in the fact that some early dungeons will have high level enemies lurking behind locked doors—I was around level 16 in a dungeon and saw an enemy in the upper 600s.

Rainbow Moon PS3 - Battles can be tough and intense ... and fun.

Rainbow Moon PS3 – Battles can be tough and intense … and fun.

Let’s make this clear:  Rainbow Moon is a long game and it can be even longer if you want to see everything.  As a downloadable title I was blown away by the amount of content here.  Not only are there secret dungeons and hidden collectibles but also a full batch of trophies (platinum included).  If you think you can just breeze through and see everything you are wrong.  There are trophies rewarded for playing the game for 100 hours and even getting a character up to level 500.  I’ve played for a little more than thirty hours and I’m barely over level twenty and have hardly scratched the surface of the entire game world.  For those of you looking to prove your gaming worth there is a neat little feature in the game where you can actually upload your personal statistics and see them compared to everyone else’s on the game’s website.  It’s a nice touch and something I am actually surprised I haven’t seen as much of in bigger releases.

For some people the summer is a big gaming drought.  There are a few big profile games trickling out here and there but most developers want to wait until the holidays to put out the big offerings.  Rainbow Moon is an investment that can help scratch a lot of gaming itches.  Not only are you getting a great RPG, you are getting a great game.  While it has some rough edges here and there, you are going to find yourself deep into a game that has hundreds of hours of content.  These days many games offer ten to fifteen hour experiences for around $60, Rainbow Moon promises to exceed all those standards for a $15 price tag.  Now tell me that isn’t a deal.

Rainbow Moon is published by EastAsiaSoft and developed by SideQuest Studios.  It’s out July 10th on the Playstation Network.

Overall Ratings – Rainbow Moon (PS3)

Gameplay:

10/10

Sound:

9/10

Graphics:

9/10

Story:

8/10

OVERALL SCORE:

90%

 

Ben Sheene

Ben Sheene

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Ben is from Kentucky where he originally began playing games (an activity he still continues to this day). With a love for writing he graduated from Centre College with a BA in English. He recently moved to California to pursue whatever future endeavors were there. A passion for music, gaming, blogging, and existing keeps him up at night and crafts him into the person he is today.
Ben Sheene

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  • tanto

    bias western score for a game that doesnt deserve it

    • Cfresh

      That’s your opinion kid, he’s the paid reviewer, you’re not

    • Shawn

      lol really, did you even get to play it??

    • Kalvin Martinez

      It’s interesting that you claim a Western bias when this is obviously a site with writers firmly from the West. Everyone has some sort of bias and obviously being from the US, the bias is distinctly Western. Does that make Ben’s opinion on the game invalid because he is from the US and the game is from a German developer working within a genre popularized by Japanese developed games? Should he lower the score so as to acknowledge that the developer is working in a genre that has better games than this? How should other strategy RPGs be scored based on their country of origin? Should a Japanese based strategy RPG be rated high simply because it is from Japan? Isn’t that simply a bias in the other direction? Or can this be simply a case that Ben connected with the game on a certain level and found it to be of a high quality. Also, the score is only one metric by which to gauge how a game is. A more accurate way is to read what Ben actually wrote and decide if the game is for you or not.

  • Aaron Ross

    This game totally deserves high marks. It looks great, plays like a dream, is deep but not frustratingly slow & I can tell that it’s stupid long. It kicks the crap out of most full-priced RPG’s, & at $15 it’s an absolute steal. Great review, great game. Play it before talking shit about the score.

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