[PlayStation 4] Saga of the Moon Priestess Review
Saga of the Moon Priestess from eastasiasoft and Pixel Trash is an adventure game reminiscent of 8 and 16-bit Zelda games. Check our Saga of the Moon Priestess review!
Saga of the Moon Priestess is a retro top-down action-adventure inspired by 8-bit and 16-bit classics. Featuring crisp pixel art and original sounds and music, Saga of the Moon Priestess invokes a simpler era of the action-adventure genre. With 5 dungeons to explore, 7 life containers, 15 items to collect and countless enemies to defeat, the world of Lunaria is a land lush with things to do, secrets to find and people to talk to.
Saga of the Moon Priestess from eastasiasoft and Pixel Trash is a 2D top-down game that takes inspiration from The Legend of Zelda series, notably from a Link To The Past on the SNES – which, to this day, is on my top three best games I’ve ever played. The prologue begins as you see a prince who wakes up to what seems to be an empty castle. You soon realize that something is not right. Shortly after this, you’ll be with Sarissa, an orphan and the main character of this game. She’s on a quest to find the lost prince. Sarissa can wield a spear and will eventually get some useful gear to help her on this journey.
On the gameplay side, and comparing her weapon to Link’s sword, I was disappointed to realize that she only attacks in front of her, instead of how Link can attack enemies in a small AoE around him. If she’s slightly on the side of an enemy, it won’t hit him. You walk using the D-Pad or the left analog stick, attacking enemies by pressing the Square button. You have a small HUD on the upper left side of the screen containing your special attack and your health, but that is unfortunately ABOVE the game, and sometimes elements are hidden below it as you obtain more heart containers and your health bar grows. The controls are also stiff, and that contrasted greatly with how perfect they are in the game’s main inspiration – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
You can open the game’s map by pressing the DualSense’s touchpad, and the map resembles the one in A Link to the Past, albeit smaller. There are five major regions, each one containing a dungeon and a boss. As you begin, you’ll likely be lost as you can’t go anywhere on the map until you unlock special items allowing you to destroy the various roadblocks in front of you that will at least help you understand that the dungeons should be taken in which order. At first, I thought that the game was cheap with hints as you’ll likely be lost and wander in circles a few times before you understand where your adventure will begin. It would have helped if, at the very least, the dungeons were highlighted on the map.
Being an adventure game, I had great expectations of the level design, and for the most part, it was greatly done. I already mentioned that the game has five different regions, and each one of them must be visited in a soft order devised by obtaining an item in a previous dungeon that will allow you to open the path. I also liked the level design of the first three dungeons. The last two dungeons, however, fell into an annoying pattern since they required a LOT of backtracking, and they added blocks that will prevent you from getting to a previously visited room. You will need to backtrack a few times as you progress in a dungeon, and the necessity of (slowly) walking back to the entrance room to return to the other section of the room you were in 10 minutes ago was unnecessary and annoying.
Similarly, when a dungeon boss is beaten, you’ll get a health upgrade, and you’ll have to (slowly) walk back to the entrance. All the enemies are already dispatched and do not respawn, so I didn’t understand why I couldn’t have been warped out of the dungeon after collecting the health upgrade. When your character dies in a dungeon, the game has mercy, and you can restart from the dungeon’s entrance, and monsters stay slain, and everything is still unlocked. I liked this at first, but then I realized that even the pots are already broken, so you won’t be able to replenish your health easily without finding a fairy or backtracking to the village to buy a potion (you have a single potion slot).
With that being said, I liked the game enough to finish it, but there are a lot of issues that should be addressed to polish the adventure for new gamers. For starters, in the first dungeon, there are two bosses. I had killed one of them, and then the second got me. I respawned back to the dungeon’s entrance, and when I got back to the boss room, only one boss was there, but the game crashed back to the PlayStation 5 menu. Another issue I had was with the second dungeon boss since he spawned in the wall, was unable to move, and was completely open to attacks.
I also noticed balance issues where most of the monsters do about half a heart of damage – which is fine – but some monsters for no reason will do two full heart containers of damage at once – and what’s even worse is that you do not have a post hit invincibility so a single monster can kill you in a second even if you’re full health. I also soft-locked myself from two different puzzles of the game: once with the grapple as it didn’t connect as it should have, and I was left out on the side of the room with no exit, and another time, I found a solution to a puzzle only to realize I was stuck in a part of the room.
In the trophies area, this game contains 21 trophies and a Platinum trophy for your troubles. The game is also Cross-Buy, meaning you have two different trophy sets if you’re courageous enough to play through this game twice. There are no missable trophies, and most of them will unlock naturally as you reach the end of the game. They are unlocked by collecting up to 600 beads (money), fighting all the game’s bosses, and defeating 300 enemies – this one almost required grinding as I unlocked it quite late in the game. If you’re stuck, here’s a Saga of the Moon Priestess Trophy Guide that can help you.
All in all, I had fun with Saga of the Moon Priestess, even though its lack of polish and bugs will ward some gamers off. Some puzzles were confusing, and I had some issues with the controls and the level design and got hit with a few bugs. This game would have benefited from some extra polish and bug squashing. Saga of the Moon Priestess is available as a Cross-Buy title, so your $5.99 purchase will allow you to download both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 versions of the game at no extra cost.
This Saga of the Moon Priestess review is based on a PlayStation copy provided by eastasiasoft.