Game Review: Rainbow Moon
Release: July 10, 2012
Genre: Strategy/Tactical Turn-Based RPG
Developer: SideQuest Studios
Available Platforms: PSN
ESRB Rating: E10+
Website: Rainbow Moon Homepage
The Strategy RPG genre has been relegated to mobile phone games and handhelds for the last few years, but Rainbow Moon looks to change this trend. Rainbow Moon uses the tried and true conventions of the long lineage of strategy RPG’s as a basis for a solid entry into the genre. There are some missteps along the way, but you have to commend a developer that chooses ambition over playing it safe. Sidequest Studios succeeds in creating a fun downloadable title that is sure to provide challenge for even the most experienced tactical RPG gamer.
You play Rainbow Moon from an isometric perspective as you travel through the game’s different environments. The world is filled with NPC’s that play the part of Quest givers, Item Shop Owners, Healers, and Upgrade Centers. Battles are initiated by interacting with the mobs roaming the environment or the optional “Random Battles” that pop up from time to time. The overworld also has a day/night cycle that drastically affects the difficulty level of the battles, an effect that is doubly frustrating when torch-less in the endless dark found in the game’s many dungeons. Rainbow Moon wears it’s SRPG roots on its sleeve, which includes the extreme difficulty and grinding that can also be found in Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea, and Front Mission franchises.
Thankfully, Rainbow Moon chooses to slowly ease you into the many mechanics that you will be juggling throughout the game. But, there is a definite drop off that had me struggling to beat even the smallest groupings of mobs. The game quickly taught me that grinding was a necessity and not a choice. This was especially important as the game began to slowly fill out my party with powerful allies, with the enemy’s numbers and difficulty increasing to dash any false confidence I may have gathered with my new found power. There can be fun found in games that use challenge/reward to engage its players and Rainbow Moon does try its best to keep the fine balance between the two throughout the game.
When it comes down to it, Rainbow Moon does a good job of giving players a solid few hours of gameplay that is both challenging and satisfying. By allowing players to roam free through the environments, the game feels a little more dynamic as you play, which only works to broaden its appeal. The quick view of enemies before accepting a random battle is a godsend that allows for a little more strategy when playing through the game. SideQuest’s choices during the development of Rainbow Moon have worked to set it apart from its bigger budget brethren by changing up some of the tired conventions found in the genre.
But, some of the choices that Rainbow Moon makes are downright baffling. Many times I found myself choosing incorrect attacks or moves due to the lack of a confirmation button. In the latter stages of the game, each choice plays a crucial part in the outcome of battles and finicky controls complicate the process. The slow speed of these battles can get tedious, especially with the constant grinding that the game forces you to go through to progress. While novel, the day/night cycle seems to only hurt the game as it forces you to buy/horde torches in an effort to continue enjoying the game. These are small details, but they hold back what could be a truly great game.
There’s a good amount of fun to be had with Rainbow Moon and for $15, it is well worth the price. The grinding alone will keep you busy for hours and if you’re up for a challenge, it will surely test your mettle as you play through the campaign.
+ Well done battle system that expands over time
+ Challenging gameplay that will keep you busy for hours
– Battles move way too slowly
– Control scheme allows for easy mistakes to be made during battles
Final Score: 7 Out Of 10