Rainbow Moon is not a new game. It is not reaction to Witcher 3 or a follow-up of Fallout 4. In fact, Rainbow Moon originally rubbed shoulders with the like of Mass Effect 3 and Borderlands 2 when it released in 2012. Despite this huge difference in time, Rainbow Moon has had an enduring fan base, and is constantly held in the top sellers list for Sony’s abandon child, the PS Vita. And not since the PS3 has it be seen on a home console, until now.
Rainbow Moon, four years on from its first release is finally available to purchase on PS4. But has it done enough to keep up with the wealth of brilliant RPGs of the last year. The answer, is a paradox. Rainbow Moon has barely changed from the initial release of the game, the same, cartoonish graphics and bright colours fill the screen, and the same, slightly awkward control scheme awaits those tossed through the opening portal.
But, for all that Rainbow Moon hasn’t changed since the days we still played Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, it doesn’t really need too. Even by todays standard, Rainbow Moon stays out from the competition. There is something so genuinely sweet and comforting in Rainbow Moon, something that excites the inner self with its quiet, colourful reassurance that makes it so endearing.
You won’t find the dark, dingy and brutal world of the Witcher, nor the sprawling wasteland of Fallout. Rainbow Moon is different for being indiscriminately cheery throughout. It’s an extremely colourful game that lets you revel in comfort and happiness rather than the misery you’ve come to expect from modern-day RPGs. The setting is the titular Rainbow Moon, where you, and plenty of monsters, have arrived accidentally. You’ll wander through the lands and dungeons of this colourful moon, slaying beasts and meetings the folk that dwell here.
Your adventures won’t be weighted down by complex mechanics either. Rainbow Moon is broken up into the Overworld and combat arenas. In the Overworld you can interact with NPCs, chests and the environment. The arena is where you are pitted against an array of beasts in simple turn based combat. You start with just one action per turn, which can be moving across the grid, attacking, defending or using a skill. Once you unlock more action points, you can start to combine the strategies although it is still a fairly simple task of moving and attacking.
You will be taught, very slowly about the ways of Rainbow Moon. This is a game that takes it time. The first island you come across, which is literally filled with enemies called ‘Training Imps’ and two dungeons, will take you hours to complete. You’ll get one extra party member, and a handful of levels and some basic equipment. It’s the kind of game you play when you’re feeling lazy. Progression is slow, steady and unchallenging. The bright colours, and fantastic locations are all designed to relax you, to bring you to a happy, hypnotic trace as you grind through enemies.
Grinding is an activity you’ll have to get used to in Rainbow Moon. On top of the experience you’ll gain from slaying beasts and ‘Wannabe Heroes’, you also acquire pearls that can be used to level up attributes separately. Bosses, or practically stacked battles will require a bit of grinding to overcome, but the game makes this a bit easier. As you walk around the Overworld, not only will you see enemies traveling around that you can engage, but will get prompts asking if you want to fight a certain collection of foes. This is the best way to grind as you can find a group that will offer the most experience without being overwhelming.
Although there is very little penalty for death. Like I said, this is a safe game. The game to while away an afternoon. The game when you don’t want to struggle, or think. It’s a really enjoyable experience if you’re in the mood. It’s nice to have Rainbow Moon as a winding down activity when you’re also playing something like Witcher 3, or The Witness. After burning your brain out on something difficult whether it be a challenging video game or you know, real work, Rainbow Moon will comfort you in a way that feels safe and familiar. Like reading an old favourite children’s book. It will take you to interesting places, without taking you from your comfort zone. When you die, if you accidentally stumble into a bigger fight than you can handle, you respawn with one health left, and with plenty of healers and potions scattered around, you can quickly recharge and try again.
A childern’s book as is actually a good way of thinking about the game. Although playing it on its own will undoubtedly get boring after a while, Rainbow Moon is the perfect remedy for a burned out brain. It will always be there for you and will always be easy.
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