While fighting your nemesis Namoris, you’ve been transported to a mysterious world. You’ll need to travel all over the world, gathering items and allies, in order to get back home.
Rainbow Moon follows the story of Baldren, a warrior who has been transported away from his battle with his nemesis. After arriving on Rainbow Moon, the locals quickly begin suspecting you of bringing the horde of monsters that have arrived with you. You’ll need to work to help the locals out against the monster invasion to reassure them that they aren’t with you. Luckily, there are some allies who will join in your quest, though sometimes it will take a bit of persuasion for them to join. In order to get off of Rainbow Moon, you’ll need to prepare yourself for a lot of fetch quests. I hope you’re ready!
Rainbow Moon is a turn-based strategy RPG game that has a lot of fetch quests to complete. In fact, almost the entirety of the time you spend in the main storyline will be spent doing fetch quests. You’ll be sent from NPC to NPC, town to town, and dungeon to dungeon all in search of the next item you need to hand in. This, unfortunately, sends the storyline pacing into a bit of a rollercoaster experience.
When you first start Rainbow Moon, and in fact for the first 10 or so hours you play it, the storyline feels like it is agonizingly slow. Once you get past that hump, you’ll feel like you just breeze through from place to place. This lasts right up until the last 10-15 hours of the game – or the point in which you’re sent off on a fetch quest to repair the staff that will take you home. This also happens to be the point in which the game decides it will no longer give you a decent direction on where you should go next. It would’ve been nice if the game had been more evenly paced so that the start and end didn’t feel so painfully slow to try and get through.
As I mentioned, combat in Rainbow Moon is set in a turn-based strategy type system. Basically, imagine Final Fantasy Tactics, except you can only make so many moves per turns. Everything you do counts against this turn counter – moving, items, abilities, and attacking. At first, you’ll only be able to make 1 action per turn, but as you level you’ll gain the use of Sub-Turns. As you progress through the game, you’ll need to use these Sub-Turns strategically to take down enemies while not dying yourself.
Let’s talk about the strategy part of this game. While not really as applicable when you only have the 1 Sub-Turn, as you start gaining more you’ll need to, as I said, try and take down enemies and not die yourself. This often leads to ending your turn by defending. While defending will completely end your turn regardless of the number of remaining Sub-Turns, it is a handy tool to help you stay alive. As you get further into the game though, you’ll find that defending is hardly doing anything for you at all anymore. This ends up leading to a kill-or-be-killed situation, and a lot of your strategy tends to just go out the window.
Skills are one of the key parts of combat in Rainbow Moon. These can help you take care of multiple enemies at once, or work to aid you in sniping down enemies that are further away. As you use skills, they’ll start to become stronger, though you’ll still have to try and keep track of which skill is the best at the time. Baldren’s first skill – Shield Bash – was doing more damage in situations he could only take down one enemy in comparison to some of his later skills. This, unfortunately, tends to lead to a lack of variety in what skills you’ll be using throughout the game. The later skills do tend to target quite a few enemies though, which does tend to help when the game hits the stage of it being kill-or-be-killed and a fair bit of the strategy just goes out the window.
One thing that may start to annoy you about skills is the animations. At first, you’re unable to skip any of the skill animations. However, as you use each skill you’ll eventually unlock the ability to skip those animations. Perhaps I’ve just been spoiled by games where I can do this from the start, but it did start to get a tad old having to watch the same animations over and over until I unlocked the ability to skip them. There were some skills that I never unlocked the ability to skip them, and while those animations weren’t particularly long, it would have been nice to just be able to skip them.
One of the key upgrade/stat increasing parts of Rainbow Moon is the Rainbow Pearl system. To earn pearls, characters need to land finishing blows on enemies. Since only the character who lands the final blow will earn the pearls, this can make it a bit trickier to upgrade characters who are a bit slower. Once you have enough pearls, you can visit a Savant (located throughout the world) to upgrade either your Strength, Defense, Speed, Luck, HP, or MP. Aside from HP and MP, all of the other stats are pretty worthwhile to invest into, though Defense is a bit tougher earlier on in the game.
Along with the pearls, you can also improve your stats through equipment. While the general premise is the same – buy a piece of equipment and equip it to boost your stats – what Rainbow Moon does differently is that you can forge various materials into the equipment to improve the stats. These items are gained from killing enemies, though you’ll want to try and make sure you grab the loot bags before you end the battles! If you don’t, the rewards you receive will likely be decreased, sometimes to the point of receiving no reward from some bags. I generally just used my best judgment (and what I had available in my inventory) to determine what to add onto my equipment.
Rainbow Moon uses a day/night system to control how some things appear in the game. Shops will be closed at night – 16:00 – 2:00 – and the random encounter rate is a bit higher at night as well. Also at night (and in dungeons), it tends to get a bit harder to see, leading to needing to use either the ability Magic Light or torches. These effects do stack, so don’t be afraid to use multiple at once! Do be warned that the “hours” only actually seemed to be about half an hour long, so when you’re trying to rush to a shop before it closed, you may get caught by that occasionally – I know I sure got caught by it.
Along with the day/night system, there’s also 4 days of the week that you go through. These days each have a different effect, with the most notable (at least in my opinion) being Moon Day. On Moon Day, the amount of Rainbow Pearls you earn is doubled, making it quite handy to try and farm them that day. There are also wells spread throughout the world and some of these only have effects on particular days so it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
Rainbow Moon’s soundtrack is something that’s definitely quite good, however it does tend to get a bit repetitive. After a while of hearing the same songs – especially in places I was doing a fair bit of combat – I tended to just turn on my own music to listen to instead. Additionally, the game is voice acted, but you’ll need to get used to hearing the same things a lot. A lot of the NPCs sound the same with just a word or two voice acted (the actual dialogue isn’t voiced), and since you’ll be using the same skills a lot, you’ll also hear those lines quite a bit.
Graphically, the game looks absolutely charming. The game is very bright and colourful, and everything looks like it fits within the world. With that said, you’ll be seeing a lot of the same general looks on enemies. I say general because they tend to get larger, gain a minor feature, or have a slightly different colour. This at least does help you get a sense of how to deal with these enemies, even when you encounter an “upgraded” version of them.
While Rainbow Moon does suffer from a fair bit of poor pacing at the start and end, it is an overall enjoyable experience. The characters each have their own style of play, and even after you finish the main story there’s still a whole lot of game left to explore. If you’re looking for a challenge, the game also features a hard mode, but prepare yourself for a lot of grinding. Rainbow Moon earns an easy recommendation from me however, so long as you can deal with the slow pacing at the start and end of the game.
Rainbow Moon Review Score
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with a PS4 copy for review purposes.