After a grueling 77 hours of playtime I have finally completed the main story in Rainbow Moon. With such a serious time commitment I went ahead and recorded a longer discussion style review where I break down the game and go in depth. If half an hour is a bit too long for your taste, you can read on below for a shorter written review.
Like practically every other game out there Rainbow Moon is pitched with three design pillars. From their trailer the three elements are as follows; “Rainbow Moon is a role-playing game with a strong emphasis on exploration, character development and turn-based battles”. As there isn’t much beyond these three points, let’s get started with the exploration.
For a game with a strong emphasis on exploration it does not provide much opportunity for said exploration. The overall game world is actually decently sized however there is no way to actually know this until much later in the game. Due to extensive segmentation the game actually doesn’t provide much freedom to explore the world as it basically forces you down a linear path throughout. Even the dungeons scattered throughout the game are all used for some sort of quest. In fact there were only a couple dungeons that turned out to be optional, you could tell since they actually handed out trophies for discovering them. I found it a very odd design decision indeed.
Taking the same philosophy behind exploration, character development in Rainbow Moon is an equally linear affair. It strips out any fun character building you would find in most RPG’s and turns it into what is quite possibly the most dull system I have ever encountered. Characters will acquire XP for being alive and a Rainbow Pearl for every kill when a battle is completed. XP is simply used to level characters and nothing more. Rainbow Pearls are cashed in to increase attributes which are quickly maxed out except for HP. Oddly enough you could spend real money for a huge stack of pearls which will easily triple any characters HP and conveniently remove much of the boring grinding required. Now you would assume this is when I talk about gear and skills, however those are just unlocked when characters hit certain level milestones. Like the Rainbow Pearls, equipment could have easily been removed from the game as you simply get the best available and roll with it. There is no character building or developing, you are just leveling and exponentially increasing stats due to new stuff being unlocked.
Unsurprisingly the turn-based battles are equally bland and simple. The battles have a queue based on the character speed attribute which basically boils to the highest level is the fastest. Each character has a certain amount of sub-turns which can be used to attack, defend, move or use skills and items. Since most characters have an abundance of MP, skills are the way to go for the majority of the game. It’s really all that simple, there is some sort of strength/weakness system that I never bothered to learn since it doesn’t make a noticeable difference at the end of it. There are also modifiers and attributes like slowing/speeding, poisoning, dazing, etc… which can be used however my party mostly used physical characters so once again I didn’t feel the need to use this.
What is surprising is that despite the three main pillars being a complete miss, the game isn’t actually awful to play. Sure it could have used some sort of story and provided actual RPG elements but the idea you could keep playing for a very long time after the main story is pretty neat. Despite only reaching level 80, there are areas of the game with enemies ranging from level 250 right up to 999. So there was definitely some thought that went into the game along with some but way too few neat moments.
In all it feels like a game designed by a committee driven by some strange focus group where nobody once thought about making it fun or exciting. Sure the game worked from start to end and everything played fine but it never provided emotion. In fact my playthrough has been so bland that I may have finally found a new benchmark for future games.
- Massive amount of playtime possible.
- Everything is very simple and easy to get into.
- Big world with tonds to do after completing the main story.
- Excessive amount of grinding which can be worked around with microtransactions.
- No character building, gear is unlocked at specific levels.
- Everything is linear and automatically paced for you.
Play time: 77h – Save file.
Completion: Completed main story and most quests.
Version: v2.0 [PS3] – Latest.
Platform: PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.
Acquisition: Free via PlayStation Plus subscription.