Intro: Developer SideQuest Studios and publisher eastasiasoft are back with a PlayStation 4 port of their PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita strategy RPG Rainbow Moon. It’s a game that brought many hours of enjoyment, at least 100 if you went for Everlasting Perfectionist, to a legion of gamers.
Story: The basic plot of the game sees you trying to leave Rainbow Moon after getting sent and trapped there by your rival. All of this is revealed during the opening intro when starting a new game. Unfortunately, Rainbow Moon is more about giving players an old school strategy RPG feeling than giving them an amazing story. However, make no mistake, the main story that is there is still very entertaining, as are many of the side quests available and many can provide moments of humor. The story is the same as the PS3/Vita versions.
Gameplay: The gameplay is relatively standard strategy RPG fare. Exploration takes place in a top down view with combat also taking place in the top down view but on a grid-based field. Combat is initiated either by running into an enemy during exploration or pressing X when an optional random encounter is shown on the bottom left of the screen, as shown below.
Moving and attacking in combat involves selecting the Attack or Move command and then pressing one of the directional buttons, this applies to certain skills as well depending on the character. However this part can get a little funky because in combat up is not actually shown as up as the entire combat grid is offset 90° counterclockwise, or clockwise if you change it to that in the options screen. This is an odd quirk that doesn’t really seem necessary to have put in the game but really only takes a battle or two in order to get used to, plus there is an on screen cursor showing the direction to press for the desired direction which makes it easier to adjust to, as shown below.
Each character has their own attack types and skills, all of which have different ranges and attack patterns so positioning is often a key point of your strategy. Initially combat will feel very slow due to only starting with 1 character with no skills and only 1 turn but as you progress, both in story and levels, you’ll gain access to more characters, more skills and more sub-turns (essentially more actions during each main turn), each of which adds more and more depth and strategy to combat.
Just like how the characters gain levels, the skills of Rainbow Moon also gain experience as they’re used and each level of a skill increases its effectiveness, buffs such as Magic Light or Haste will last longer, Fruit Rain will conjure more and better fruit and your healing and attack skills will increase in effectiveness by 1% per level. Some skills, such as X-Ray Review which gives you more and more info about an enemy as it’s leveled, do not use turns in combat so you can use the skill and still perform all your actions that you normally would. Skills go up to level 500 so you can gain tremendous boosts in your power by using your skills enough.
One thing of note in regards to the combat is that it can be rather grindy. The characters gain power slowly as they level but you can further boost your power by spending Rainbow Pearls to enhance your different statistics, which cost varying amounts depending on the character. For instance, Luck might cost more pearls for one character than it does for another just because Luck isn’t really their forte. Each character has their own pool of Rainbow Pearls and to get more you have to deliver the killing blow on an enemy.
DLC for the game is also available in the form of Rainbow Pearls, Rainbow Coins (the currency of the game) and various rings and amulets that can be equipped which will either double the amount of Rainbow Coins earned, double the experience earned or double the Rainbow Pearls earned, the last 2 of which only affect the character with the accessory equipped, or provide certain resistances, such as to being poisoned or bound (which prevents movement but still allows all other actions), and again, only apply to the character with the accessory equipped.
The game also has 2 additional mechanics to be aware of. First is the food bar, which you can see in the screenshot below the next paragraph. Each character has their own food bar and you do not want it to run out, otherwise you will start taking damage until you eat something. You can get food as a drop from enemies, buying it from a store and there is even a skill called Fruit Rain that you can get not that far into the game that allows you to conjure food. As mentioned above, it conjures more and better fruit as you level it so it’s worth using on a fairly routine basis but can only be used every 3 in game hours.
The second mechanic to be aware of are the days of the week. Each day has a different effect such as consuming less food on Ambrosia Day or earning double Rainbow Pearls on Moon Day.
The menu screens provide plenty of information in the various areas which is always handy in a game like this. You can access the tutorials in the menu as well should you need to refer to them for any reason. The status screen is shown below. The gameplay is the same as the PS3/Vita versions.
Graphics: The graphics are good with the use of plenty of colors and alternating battlefields to keep things from getting too stale. Even in battle the leaves on the trees and the clumps of grass are animated as if the wind is blowing to give the field more life. Outside of battle the same thing is going on while you’re exploring with the addition of butterflies flying around in certain areas, all of which makes the world of Rainbow Moon feel more alive than it otherwise would. One thing I noticed on the PS4 version as opposed to the PS3 version is that the colors and detail seemed a bit sharper, though it’s unknown if that’s anything the developer did or just a side effect of using the PS4’s more powerful hardware when compared to the PS3’s hardware.
Performance: The game has always run flawlessly in my experience with relatively fast loading times but SideQuest Studios has improved performance even more for the PS4 version and as a result you can expect pretty smooth gameplay performance. If you encounter any performance issues it’ll be during large battles, such as the one shown below, but I doubt there will be much of an impact between the performance enhancements the developers did and the more powerful PS4 hardware.
Music: The music of Rainbow Moon, composed by Rafael Dyll, is one of the areas of the game that really shines. While being entirely original compositions the music somewhat reminds me of a mix of some of my favorite JRPGs of past generations such as Lunar and Vay as well as David Arkenstone’s Quest of the Dream Warrior and Return of the Guardians albums. A true testament to Rainbow Moon’s soundtrack is that in all the hours I’ve played it I never listed to anything but the game’s music. It’s a soundtrack that I could easily listen to while doing something else.
Trophies: The trophies of Rainbow Moon are a good blend of story related and side quest/optional activity related. The trophy images are all different as well which is a nice touch that even some large developers don’t bother with. It’s a list that will leave you feeling like you actually earned that platinum trophy when it unlocks.
Summary: In closing, Rainbow Moon is a great strategy RPG for fans of the genre. The story isn’t anything that will win awards but it’s still entertaining and that’s the main thing. The combat provides enough strategy to keep things interesting. Those who hate having to do much grinding in games will probably want to pass, though if they hate grinding then they’re probably not fans of the genre to begin with.
1. Strategic combat will have you planning your moves.
2. Outstanding music.
3. Great technical performance.
4. Slightly improved graphics over the PS3/Vita version.
1. Average story.
My Recommendation: Buy at full price.
My Score: 9/10.
Thank you eastasiasoft for giving me the chance to review this game.