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Rainbow Moon (VITA) Review

RainbowMoon52

I love a good strategy RPG. I find them to be more diverse and tactical than traditional turn based RPGs. The Disgaea series and Final Fantasy Tactics are games that brilliantly orchestrate how these grid based games work. They set the tone for the whole genre, which the game type has somewhat died out, Rainbow Moon was released last year on the PS3. It certainly didn’t revolutionize the genre, but it did show that you can do a lot more with grid based strategy RPGs. EastAsiasoft has brought Rainbow Moon to the Vita and it comes with cross-save functionality. Is this a game to pick up a Vita for? No. Is it a game to pick up if you already have the PlayStation handheld? Yes.

Cursed by his arch rival, Baldren find himself warped to Rainbow Moon. Baldren isn’t only stranded in an unknown place; he has also opened a dimensional gate out of which troops of monsters are crawling, turning this once peaceful planet into a real hell. There’s only one thing for our brave hero to do: He has to seal the gate and warp himself back to his home planet.

The story of Rainbow Moon is alright, very fantasy storybook. That sort of storytelling works well in gaming because that’s all video games really are at their core. This is not some grand adventure with a large cast of lovable characters that also get killed off, this is a small quaint story that plays it safe and breaks no boundaries. This RPG that has a standard linearity to it.

What separates Rainbow Moon from other games in the genre is the combat system. You eventually earn a party of characters to use that have their own skills and weapons to learn and use. Skills are not learned by leveling up, they are picked up in the form of skill books. Which is something I really like. The reason is that it prevents senseless grinding to learn more and more skills. You are forced to check every chest on the map because that Shield Bash move will not be the best move endgame. The skills are used with mana and each skill has a defined area of effect and damage output. Each skill/weapon has a typing associated with it and against certain enemies this attributes will deal minimal or maximum damage.

Something I feel that is worthy of mentioning is when you move or attack, what D-Pad button to push to go in that direction is showed. Since there is no way to take back a turn in Rainbow Moon this prevents accidental moves that could spell win or lose. It is a small addition, but a welcomed one. In games like Guided Fate Paradox it was easy to move in the wrong direction due to the isometric map view.

The equipment system has a variety of upgrades and crafting that help drive the character customization forward. Monster spoils all have different effects that will alter the stats of your equipment. Early on, this is dull and not very expansive due to the limited monster variety and limited access to new equipment. Something I admire about Rainbow Moon is the forced strategy elements. What I mean is that you cannot site around and grind out exp points and gain levels and buy the latest equipment. Often you find better stuff in chests on the map so using your currency for weapons and armor feels redundant. The overworld is odd to navigate though, so it is very easy to miss chests.

The main problem with Rainbow Moon is the game flow. It has random difficulty spikes that drop off very quickly. For example, you will only fight imps for about two character levels, to the point where you can kill them in two hits and you only take 1 damage. Then Wasps show up and they do 13+ damage to do and you cannot grind on imps because they give no exp but you cannot grind on Wasps because they kill you in two hits. This happens through the entire game and it resulted in me not wanting to continue playing. The game also has several moments of “Where do I go? What do I do?” and that doesn’t make for a good RPG.

There are a few finer gameplay touches that make this game somewhat unique but I want you to have some mystery while playing it. Rainbow Moon is a very average game. It doesn’t redefine the RPG genre and it doesn’t break any molds in video games. It is a simple game with a simple purpose. The music and art are delightful additions to the game that make it approachable. As I stated before, this is not a game to rush out and get a Vita for, however, this is a game you should get if you enjoy RPGs and already own a Vita. I give Rainbow Moon for the PS Vita a 7/10. It can be fun, but you need patience to continue playing.

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