Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Review: Rainbow Moon (PS Vita)

Rainbow Moon is a PlayStation Store download title that first came out for the PlayStation 3 back in July of 2012 and is now available for the Vita.

The combat system uses a top down isometric-view battle area, akin to Final Fantasy Tactics. In an ideal world, the battles are a balancing act of using both position and well placed battle strategies to maximize your inflicted damage and protect your team. Typically though, the battles are an enemy dog pile where you try and keep your team afloat with judicious amounts of healing items.

With that being said, the financials of cleaning out item stores each battle just won't cut it – the only way to be able to survive these types of encounters is to level up your characters to a ridiculous degree. That means… enter an area, defeat everything, go back to a previous area, and do the exact same thing. Lather, rinse, repeat. The consequences of not over-levelling your team means that the battle quickly become un-winnable… and while the nerd in me appreciates the Kobayashi-Maru scenario, it's not something I care to approach in every random encounter.

Story wise, I found the game to be a bit sparse – the main story focusses on the protagonist Baldren trying to get home. The phenomenon that brought Baldren to Rainbow Moon also brought the large number of enemies to the world – so the people he meets along the way are along to help reverse this and save their home. The main character/NPC interactions are dull bordering on painful and for some reason, once an ally joins the party… you don't talk anymore. This sort of paraphrases the character development in a nutshell… you're here, you're fighting enemies, who gives a crap about your backstory or character development?

Visually the game is quite beautiful – a great amount of care has gone into the character and enemy designs. The music is also quite charming, with each character's personal sound effects being cute. The enemy designs are very reminiscent of an early Final Fantasy or Dragon's Quest game on the Super Nintendo or early PlayStation.

The depth of the game is really in the growth system. You can upgrade your character attributes and your equipment independently. Which makes for some interesting weapon/equipment decisions… is that new weapon superior to the levelled up one you already possess? It can certainly make for some heart-wrenching decisions it the menu.

For those that have already purchased this title on PS3, cross-play is enabled between the two systems – unfortunately you will have to buy it twice. But for the cost, it's not like dropping $120 for two copies of Madden. Considering the amount of time that you can sink into this game, it's kind of nice to able to take it on the go yet still be able to stretch out at home on the bigger display.

All in all, Rainbow Moon is a charming indy title – obviously not as polished or fleshed out as it could have been, but certainly worth the lowered price point on PSN.

- Tazman

The Good:
- Cute little throw-back RPG
- Exceptionally long game
- Cross-play functionality between PS3 and Vita

The Bad:
- About as deep as a wading pool
- Grinding isn't a benefit to earn you better loot… it's a requirement

Score: 7.0 / 10