Grinding is always a mixed thing in RPGs. It always seems to be necessary at certain points and often times it will end with you getting what you needed for putting forth the effort. Other times it’s pointless hard work that leads to nothing more than wasted time.
Rainbow Moon manages to land somewhere in the middle. While it offers a basic, but cool RPG aesthetic, this game forces you to grind, right at the very beginning.
Developer: SideQuest Studios
Platform: Playstation 4 (Reviewed), Playstation 3, PS Vita
Price: $14.99 Amazon
First the story. Our hero, Baldren, is thrown into a strange portal by his rival, and transported to the world of Rainbow Moon. The same portal has also allowed several nasty monsters to come through and attack the citizens of Rainbow Moon.
The Look, Feel, and Sound of Rainbow Moon
Rainbow Moon looks like something out of the N64 era. The environments are varied and colorful and lush. The monsters are highly varied and very creative models. Thus far in my playthrough I’ve run into little imps, bandits, and deadly bees. Character models, however, look very unattractive.
It has your usual RPG music with sweeping epic songs in the over world, cheery and light in towns, and more eerie and subtle music as you explore dungeons. It’s nothing special, but it gets the job done.
Although, I enjoyed the overall aesthetic of Rainbow Moon there are a lot of obtuse mechanics within the game. They’re not broken, but they feel very awkward.
The inventory system is decent. Typical inventory system. Buying said items is also kind of obtuse. Instead of being able to buy multiples you have to hit the X button to choose and confirm.
Encounters with enemies occur by running into visual enemies you can see or through invisible run ins. You’ll know when one of these will be happening when an encounter window pops up in the bottom left corner of the screen.
I didn’t think any of these hidden encounters were necessary until I ran into areas with high level enemies. Grinding through these encounters helps gain levels and rainbow spheres. The spheres are taken to vendors, called savants, to increase your attributes such as strength, speed, HP, luck and defense. But it’s a big grind and it feels very forced. Walking into new dungeons to unexpectedly find high level enemies you’re left completely unprepared, forcing you into grinding levels with random encounters.
Not to mention the number of experience points involved for me to level up to level 6 is 350 XP. Which at the rate of one or two XP per enemy would take a lot of grinding.
In order to be on par with the enemies I was facing I need to be level seven which I imagine is going to require even more experience points. And I’m still in the first area of Rainbow Moon.
Heading into dungeons changes up gameplay a bit. Torches are needed to light the way, but they don’t do much else other than provide light. There are typical dungeon crawling elements like opening chests and unlocking doors, but there is nothing unique or special here.
You remain in your Isometric view like the rest of the game when you enter into the battle arena. Movement can be a little awkward at times. I felt like the directional pad didn’t match up to the panels on the battlefield. I eventually got it down, but it felt a bit awkward at first.
A decent variety of tactics and abilities can be used to take on enemies. From martial skills like a shield bash to an earth based spells and ranged arrow attacks they’re all here. Skills can be found and applied to the six main characters all of which apply to each hero’s archetype/class.
Also, switching through combat options felt a little obtuse. When completing an action, you stay under that action which at times can be convenient when you want to repeat it, while other times it may cause you to repeat an action you didn’t want.
Rainbow moon can be fun at times, but it takes time to get into the groove and feel of the games mechanics. And expect to be forced into a whole lot of grinding. The look and aesthetic of game are quite charming, minus some character models, however, and the story and music as well are equally as charming.
It isn’t the most stand out game, but if your down for a simple RPG it might be up your alley if you can deal with the unnecessary grind.