Rainbow Moon (PS4) – First Impressions

Had this game lying around on the digital pile for a while now, finally decided to take a closer look and… well… I don’t think I’ll be playing this much after the first session. First, a quick description of the game: It’s a strategy-rpg with an isometric view. On the main map you go around exploring both above ground and in dungeons, encountering enemies as you go (some pre-placed, others are random encounters that you can ignore). You fight them on a separate grid-based map with a turn-based system. The story has you transported to an unknown land and you have to find a way back somehow.

The game does have potential, but sadly, at least from the time I played, it seems to mostly waste it. The graphics are decent, nothing special, but not bad. The interface is clean and functional, though for some reason the bottom right corner where the HP and MP of the character is displayed is cut off a bit for me (and there is no in-game option to correct that).

Now to the not so good parts: At the beginning everything seems fine, but after gaining a few levels, the needed experience to level increases significantly (350 XP needed from level 5 to 6, and you only get 1-2 XP per enemy), which means you need to do a LOT of fighting. There’s not a lot of enemy variation (at this point there are only 3 types of enemies) and enemy groups become larger at this point, making battles more tedious, which is not a good combo with the amount of fighting you do (even if you skip random encounters, there are quite a few place on the map, especially in the first dungeon). In one of the side-quests you get in the first town, the game also just out of the blue springs an enemy (a recolor of the second enemy type) at you that you very likely have no chance against at that point. You do have the ability to escape from that battle and just leave it aside until you are better equipped for it, but that just seems like very lazy design and balancing to me. In general, against enemies that are stronger (in my case the third type that is level 5), battles become either dangerous or boring. These enemies do a lot of damage unless you select “defend” at the end of your turn, which cuts your potential damage output in half, but also reduces the damage the enemy does by a lot. This makes fights against larger groups of this enemy rather drawn out and more of a boring slog, instead of it being risky.

While exploring, there’s also the food and light mechanics to keep in mind. To me they amount to busywork rather than improving the experience. The inventory system does its part in that, since there are different compartments in it, each with its separate item limit. There’s Recovery Items, Misc. Items, Weapons, Armor, Materials and Key Items. Both recovery and misc items start with an annoyingly low limit of 10 each, while crafting and key items for example have a high limit of 250. There are items that you can buy or find to expand the limits for recovery and misc items (maybe the others, too, but I didn’t get that far), but those also get more expensive each time.
Equipment/Loot also doesn’t do anything to counteract the tedium, so far I only found a slightly improved version of the 3 equipment types you get at the start (weapon, helmet and armor). Crafting is (so far) limited to adding a limited amount of material to existing items in order to improve their stats.

Overall, after my playtime, I’m not motivated to continue with the game, there are much more varied games in my backlog that I prefer to play.

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