[PS Vita Review] Rainbow Moon
The indie role-playing hit Rainbow Moon returns for the PlayStation®Vita system with Cross-Save support and numerous updates!
Explore a fascinating world and fight nasty creatures in turn-based battles. Visit towns and shop for new equipment and upgrades. Six playable characters await you in an addictive game that lasts more than 40 hours.
• Complete all optional content to extend game play up to 100 hours and beyond
• Earn more than 50 trophies, including a prestigious platinum trophy
• Exchange saved data between your PlayStation®Vita system and PlayStation®3 system
Confession time on my dirty little secret. As much as I love JRPGs, I have never played a strategy based one. They have always seemed too complicated to get into and as the years have gone on, there seems to be a bigger and bigger barrier for people to enter the genre. Then came along Rainbow Moon, a PS3 exclusive that has now been ported to PS Vita. This is a perfect entry into the genre, and a great game for people who love strategy JRPGs.
Rainbow Moon is a top down isometric grid based strategy RPG. The story begins with your hero and his arch rival fighting while you and him are warped to Rainbow Moon. You brought some monsters to this distant planet with you through the portal, and thus begins your journey trying and save the world from the monsters, close the portal and get back to your planet.
The game works similarly to other RPGs were you have an open world map to wander. There are towns, forests, dungeons and many other environments for you to explore and you will also interact with NPCs on the map and get quests that need to be completed in order to move forward. I realy liked the world and the characters that inhabit it since there is a certain charm to them, and I appreciate the way they act towards your main character as they suspect he is the one who brought the monsters with him. I do find navigating the world somewhat difficult with the grid based system because sometimes you feel you should be able to get past an object and you have to take a different path because you can’t get past it. Fortunately, that feeling will go away as you play more and get used to the world.
You start with one character, but as the main story proceeds you will gain 5 more party members. The classes are varied and you eventually have a warrior, an archer, a savage, a knight, a sorceress, and a jester in your ranks. Each one will act differently on the battlefield; whereas the warrior will get right up into the enemies face, the archer needs to stay further back to attack. When monsters advance upon her, you need to move her to keep her out of range because if they get to close she will not be able to attack.
You can choose to fight monsters in two ways. There are some on the map, and when you approach you will engage them in a fight. It will also tell you how many will be in that battle. They also have randomly generated monster battles which you can trigger at any time, and this is great for when you are trying to grind levels, which you will be doing frequently.
Let’s discuss the most important part of an RPG: the battle system. Your characters and enemies are placed on a grid, and you can choose the starting formation of your party. Everyone on the grid has a turn to go in battle, and there is a “Turn Order” list at the top of the screen which will show who’s next to go, which can help you plan your moves. When your “Turn” comes around, you will receive “Sub-Turns”. Any action you take on the battle field will count as one “Sub-Turn”, and this can include attacking, using skills, moving your character, using items, defending, and changing your equipment. As your characters level up you gain more “Sub-Turns” allowing you to do more actions during each “Turn”.
Initially you start off with just a few enemies on the grid but, as you get further in the game, you will start fighting huge hordes of monsters. There were battles where I had 20 or more monsters on the screen that had to be defeated. It’s a good thing that you get experience from every monster you defeat since it allows you to work towards leveling up after a long battle. I really like the setup and how the system works. Planning your attacks is a must, and you get a feeling of accomplishment when you beat a large group of monsters.
The game has a lot of deep RPG elements. There is a crafting system to make your armor and weapons better, you can level up skills by using them often, you need to keep track of your characters hunger level, and there are a ton of side quests to keep you busy while trying to reach that next level.
The game looks beautiful on the OLED screen of the Vita. The art style lends itself to a portable version. The characters look distinct, and the animation is smooth. There is just so much detail on all of the character models, and it really helps to immerse yourself in the world. The over-world looks great too, with a variety of different places for you to explore that all feel distinct. The soundtrack is great and will bring you right into the game, so I definitely suggest you use a pair of headphones so you can get the nuances of the sound design.
My only complaint about the game is the amount of “Fetch” Quests. While going through the game and talking to NPCs they will often give you quests to advance the story, and they usually require going to talk with someone else. However, there are situations where you bounce between several people back and forth multiple times just to move on in the game.
On the bright side, the game has 50 trophies in total… including a Platinum. This is a shared trophy list with the PS3 version, so do plan accordingly. This means you can transfer your save file to the Vita version and carry on with the trophies while jumping back and forth between both versions.
It’s really great that it is Cross-Save compatible, and there’s even a combo pack available where you get both versions in one go and save some money. Also, there are packs of pearls and coins that can be purchased from the PSN which can give you a boost to start off. I did purchase a starter pack to help eliminate some of the early grinding in the game, which is not necessary but can give you an early leg up while trying to find your footing.
Rainbow Moon is a great game for people who love the strategy RPG genre or want to give it a try, but found them daunting to start. The game is easy to learn and hard to master, giving all gamers a challenge. There’s at least 50 hours worth of content in the game, with even more if you do all of the side-quests. It is well worth the $15 price tag, and the trip to Rainbow Moon was great, which is why I highly recommend you book a trip there as well.
[review pros=”Beautiful Graphics
Deep Battle System
50+ Hours of content” cons=”Grinding can get a bit repetitive
Side Quests can sometimes get tiresome
PS Vita Game size: 1.4 GB
You can purchase Rainbow Moon from the PSN