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Rainbow Moon (Video Game Review)

Rainbow Moon is a new addition from the development studio SideQuest Studios, but unlike SideQuest's most recent releases, Rainbow Moon is a strategy role-playing game in the model of classic titles such as Final Fantasy Tactics. The PlayStation Network exclusive takes many features of an old-school genre that is rarely seen in modern games and combines it with with many updated features, enhanced graphics, a plethora of tutorials and over 100 hours of gameplay including side quests. Rainbow Moon is a rare find in today's gaming industry and a good bargain at its $14.99 asking price. This game is a steal and a perfect gift for that gamer this holiday!

Rainbow Moon's storyline isn't its best feature. You play as the hero Baldren after he has been sent through a dimensional rift and into a strange new world named after the game's title. This once peaceful world is now being ravaged by monsters that are pouring through the same gate which Baldren arrived by, so it will be up to the hero to stop the dangerous beasts, close the portal and find his way back to his own world to face his evil nemesis once again. Of course, Baldren won't have to accomplish this mighty task alone. Rainbow Moon features six playable characters that the hero will soon meet and join up with for the remainder of the game. While Rainbow Moon's narrative isn't exactly thought provoking and doesn't create many meaningful character relationships, it more than makes up for a lackluster storyline with addictive, high quality gameplay.

Combat in Rainbow Moon relies heavily on classic strategy RPG mechanics. Action is in the game is turn-based, and you move your characters around a grid to take turns with enemies walloping one another until either party has been exhausted. Encounters happen in the wild and can be initiated manually for random encounters or by coming in contact with enemies in the field. Each character has their own unique fighting style, weapon affinities, biases and special skills to use in battle that drain mana points or MP. As you or an enemy take damage you'll lose health points, and of course, you'll be incapacitated upon losing all of your HP. If your party is ever unsuccessful in a fight, you'll be returned to the field with 1 HP and will have a chance to heal before entering back into battle. Luckily if a battle ever seems too difficult, you can easily escape from any fight and backtrack to look for better equipment or easier enemies to defeat and level.

Rainbow Moon features a deep progression system that allows you to fully customize your weapons, armor and accessories with items found throughout the game. Characters can also be leveled by spending Rainbow Pearls earned through landing killing blows on enemies to increase in certain statistical categories in addition to automatically gaining levels through experience points. Each of the game's six characters has affinities and bias that will make their attacks stronger against certain types of enemies and vice versa. There are tons of different enemies throughout Rainbow Moon, and each different encounter is collected in your bestiary that can be found alongside the rest of the game's many tutorials. Your party can be customized at nearly any time to allow whichever characters you want to enter battle in specific battle formations. These features add additional tactical approaches to battles that you must always consider. Also you need to be wary of a food meter that will warn you when your character has become too hungry and needs to find some food to eat.

It will take you around 40 hours to complete the main quest of Rainbow Moon and over 100 hours to complete everything in the entire game. This massive amount of content will keep you playing for many days or even weeks, but you won't want to replay through the game anytime soon after your extensive time already spent playing the game despite the Normal and Hard difficulties and the other various settings for new playthroughs. One of the first things you'll notice during your long quest is the game's bright graphics that don't rely so much on excellent character design and animations so much as quirky features and vibrant displays of color that most people could appreciate. The game also relies heavily on a fantastic soundtrack, short phrases, grunts, groans and other sound effects rather than a voiceover narrative. Battles control well for the most part, but certain areas of a few maps can make things tough to see with a mostly stationary, isometric camera angle.

Rainbow Moon isn't for everyone, but if you're into classic turn-based role-playing games, this is the new game you've been waiting so long for. This type of game only comes around once or twice a year and rarely are they ever executed as so nearly flawless as Rainbow Moon. The addictive gameplay, colorful art style and catchy soundtrack will have you coming back for continuous hours of gameplay that reminds you of better times even if the classic gameplay is slightly held back by lingering problems such repetitive level grinding. You'll easily be able to look past Rainbow Moon's minor flaws if you're a fan of the play style, but it's a game that is unfortunately part of a dying genre that not everyone can appreciate. However, Rainbow Moon is a must buy for any fans of the genre with so much great content at a low price.

For more information on the game, check out the official Rainbow Moon website.

Game Information:
Publisher: EastAsiaSoft
Developer: Side Quest Studios
Platforms: PlayStation 3 (reviewed)
Release Date: July 10, 2012

Score: 8 out of 10
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