I was late to the strategy RPG party. My first time with the genre was when Final Fantasy Tactics came out back in 1997 and I fell in love. From there I went on to the Final Fantasy Tactics Advance series, Tactics Ogre and the recent Pokemon Conquest to name a few. The whole time I played these games I couldn’t help but think the same thing, “Why can’t I explore?” Each of these games follow the same formula: you have a world map and you just pick your location, at which time you magically teleport there. No walking around or exploring, just click and you were there. You couldn’t walk around a city or explore the different shops. Instead you just clicked “shop” in the menu and there you were, in a shop. Well, at long last a game came along and fixed all that: Eastasiasoft’s Rainbow Moon.
The first thing I noticed was that I could control the character and I knew going into this game it was a SRPG; I was confused at first. Yes you actually control your character and there is loot galore! A good way to describe the game is “Diablo meets a SRPG”. I say that because the actual battles are that of a SRPG but the rest of the game is based on exploration and loot. I’m not going to get too in depth with the story but it basically boils down to help this person, find X for this person, or go and defeat this group of enemies. It’s the standard “fetch quest” that I generally dislike, but the gameplay and exploration makes up for it.
Now the battle system is where the game shines the most, though it does have some issues. In most SPRGs you have to confirm who you are attacking or confirm that is where you want to move to. Not Rainbow Moon. It fixes this annoying issue (at least it was to me) by letting you simply move to a spot you want to move to and that’s it. Same goes for an enemy that you want to attack. Simply select attack, pick who you want to attack and that’s it. No annoying “Are you sure?’ popping up to slow down gameplay. This can prove annoying at times like if you move to a spot you didn’t meant to as there is no way to cancel your move. I found using the d-pad instead of the analog stick helped prevent this. Each character has abilities as well but you don’t learn them the traditional way, you must buy them at shops. You will be forced to level grind a bit at first but the game gets a little easier when you start to get new characters in your party.
After each fight you are awarded with experience, currency and CP. CP is used to raise your hit points, strength, defense and luck but can only be done in a town by a certain individual. There is a trick to obtaining CP though. Not everyone is awarded with CP after a battle: only the character making the final blow to an enemy. So you really have to plan accordingly to let the weaker people in your party get a chance to get some CP. You can also upgrade your weapons and armor at smith shops that are in towns or randomly scattered about the world. You can find different kinds of spoils in treasure chests and from enemies that can be fused with weapons and equipment to make them stronger. There is a limit as to how much can be fused to equipment and that varies by each piece of equipment.
If trophies are your thing you’re in for a treat as Rainbow Moon offers a platinum trophy! Good luck, though, as it will require a ton of time with the game. Some of the trophies want you to get a character to level 500! Let’s just say I was about level 19 and my game clock was at about 20 hours! I’m not saying it’s impossible but you will be playing the game for months (if not years) if you’re a completionist.
Rainbow Moon is a great game that fixes what is wrong with current SPRGs. It’s really the little tweaks that make this game fantastic. The gameplay isn’t overly complicated and the exploration is fun. It offers a HUGE world map to explore and I know this will be a game I return to frequently. I hope other companies take note and take the route Rainbow Moon has.
- No annoying confirmation after moving or attacking
- You can actually explore in a SRPG
- Save anywhere
- A huge world to explore
- Tons of loot
- Grind heavy
- Characters feel really generic/no personality
- Controls can be tricky
This review is based on the PSN version which was provided by the developer