Published on December 12th, 2013 | by Don Parsons0
Rainbow Moon Review
Summary: A wonderful throwback to the good old days, with some enhancements and portability that make this a solid Vita purchase.
How I play Eastern RPG’s has changed over the years. Blame the PSP and DS for their massive JRPG libraries for this, but I have found it more comfortable to enjoy these tales of saving the world from the comfort of my bed, the commute to work, or even the most peaceful place in my noisy household – the bathroom. For this reason I tend to skip console RPG’s, with a few exceptions, and that included last years strategy-RPG, Rainbow Moon. Now, though, I have a Vita and that delightful game has made its way to my favorite portable gaming device.
Rainbow Moon, like most RPGs, has a story that revolves around the main character having to save the world. There are not any great steps in trying to achieve anything new in the realm of storytelling. The main character, Baldren, has opened a portal on Rainbow Moon and warped himself there. Not only did this portal bring him to this world, but it also unleashed a bunch of monsters to ravage a once-peaceful land.
Throughout the course of Rainbow Moon, Baldren is given help from a few other supporting cast members. I mean, it wouldn’t be an RPG with just one character, right? Each has their own archtype, Baldren playing the all-around warrior type. Much like the story itself, I felt no attachment to any of the characters, nor did I find any of them compelling.
The first few hours with Baldren were spent grinding. As I roamed around the colorful overworld, I fought a few variations of monsters, all to level up and earn Rainbow Pearls. Battles took place on a separate battlefield, turning from a free-roam world to a grid-based playing field, and turns were decided by player/enemy speed. That’s something I rather enjoyed about Rainbow Moon. I’ve never been a big fan of one team moving, then the next team moving.
After the battles, which went rather quickly, the characters gained both experience and Rainbow Pearls. Rainbow Pearls are the main way to level up attributes, which are spent at Savants. Strength, Speed, Luck – all of the usual components are there, but capped at every level. This prevented me from dropping ALL of my pearls into strength and speed with Baldren.
One of the most genius aspects of Rainbow Moon is how they handle enemies and random battles. While it pays to grind for levels, money, and pearls, being forced to fight enemies randomly is a thing of the past. As I roamed around dungeons and the world map, a notification would pop up in the bottom left corner of the screen that enemies were nearby. If I wanted to continue on, I just ignored it. If I saw enemies I knew dropped more pearls than usual, or if I just wanted to grind, all I had to do was hit X, and the battle started.
Of course, items are dropped in battle, some of which exist to sell or enhance equipment. Enhancing equipment plays a more subtle role than I anticipated. Rarely does a great item drop, so most of the time I just added the strength or HP items to my weapons and armor. On the rare occasion that a great item does drop, I would just wait until I got a new weapon or piece of armor. I never got frustrated and re-bought equipment just to add one of these rare drops to it. Half the time I forgot about enhancing my equipment all together.
Rainbow Moon is crammed with dozens of hours of gameplay, cross-save compatibility, and a Platinum trophy to work on. The game is a grind-fest through and through, but with the now-portable nature, it feels great to play a little bit and move on, then come back. The developers have given those that don’t feel like grinding an easy-out though, as there is an option to purchase rainbow pearls from the Playstation Store.
What really kept me playing though was just the design of the game, and how well it felt on the Vita. On a break at work, which might last 15 minutes, I felt like I could accomplish something in the game. Whether it was progressing through some story elements, or knocking out a few battles, Rainbow Moon excels at delivering that “portable gaming experience”.
This review was written with review code provided by the publisher. For more information on our review policy, please read here.