Originally released as a digital download title on PS3 back in 2012, Rainbow Moon takes on a very familiar and nostalgic feel. Available now on Vita and PS4, SideQuest studios’ turn-based tactical RPG is almost reminiscent of our favorites in this genre, like Final Fantasy: Tactics and Disgaea, though there are elements that are definitely lacking that made me wish I was playing one of those titles instead.
At face value, the graphics are “meh” once you get past the opening cutscene. When I saw the title menu and the opening, I thought the game was going to be really artistic and cute, but aesthetically, it disappointed me a little. The color pallet is nice, but that’s about it. I would say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but in a medium that is very heavy on immersion and aesthetics, it’s kind of awkward. If the game is going for a retro feel, I believe it should be complemented by a retro look. The graphics are too new, but also too old all at once with stiff movement and decent 3-D graphics.
You play as a typical mute RPG hero named Baldren, who gets pushed through a portal into another world called Rainbow Moon. The story is very simple, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can actually be somewhat refreshing in that aspect if you’re looking for a break and just want to pick it up when you have the spare time. In today’s generation, these grindy and fetch questing games tend to be a bit obsolete. Unfortunately, Rainbow Moon doesn’t really do much to stand out in order to be a game changer (pun intended).
Despite its slow pacing, It’s still surprisingly addictive. You are constantly rewarded in one way or another for your efforts with trophies and upgrades. When you explore, you find new items to make permanent improvements to your character and equipment. It’s always really satisfying to see your hero’s skills improve as you go along. Enemies that would have obliterated you before are suddenly no threat to you at all. But, to be honest, you’ll only rely on a few of those skills at a time.You’ll find yourself using the same skills a lot. The battles do get more strategically complicated the further you get into it, though.
There are a couple mechanics that left me feeling annoyed. For one, even though you can see enemies wandering on the terrain outside of combat, they don’t go after you. Much like Senpai, they don’t notice you. You have to approach them in order to engage in combat, so there’s no surprise element or challenge. There is also a hunger meter for your characters, and you have to stop what you’re doing to feed them all, which adds another layer to the gameplay, but that just made me feel like I was being given more stuff to do to distract me from the blandness. Rainbow Moon is pretty much quantity over quality. You can play for hours upon hours, but I’m not sure if you would want to put that much time and effort into being a completionist on this one.
But it’s only $15, so why not?