Developer: SideQuest Studios
Medium: Digital Download
If you are like me you love a good RPG, especially a good Strategy RPG, Rainbow Moon developed by SideQuest Studios is now available on the PlayStation Network for the PS3. Is there a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow, or is this a pot of fool’s gold?
Rainbow Moon starts with an animated comic book-like sequence following Baldren as he hunts his nemesis, Namoris, through an enchanted patch of woods. In these woods, portals to distant worlds have been known to spring up from time to time. When one of these portals opens in front of him, Namoris throws Baldren into it, causing a rift to open in the portal. This not only sends Baldren, but monsters to Rainbow Moon.
Baldren’s adventure starts just as he wakes up on the other side of the portal. The first thing players will notice is as they wander around on the overworld, much like a Tales RPG, enemies are seen on the main map. When Baldren gets close to an enemy, above them will appear what it is and how many monsters the icon represents. When Baldren then touches the enemy a fight ensues and the heroes and monsters are placed on a flat grid. The battle system is extremely basic, and to start, the main hero can only move one space or attack one time. Once they get to level four, Baldren earns his first sub turn which allows one extra action to be used during that hero’s turn. A hero with two sub turns can move one square and then attack, or attack twice, or move two squares, so the more sub turns a hero has, the more they can do on their turn. This can make the beginning of the game very dull, since there is very little strategy or movement involved.
The controls for movement and attack are so clumsy that often players can easily find themselves moving too far. This can screw up their chance for attacking, or moving into a spot that puts them at a disadvantage. Instead of pointing to a square on the grid to tell the hero to move there, a player must use the d-pad to move one square at a time, and then when done moving, press the circle button to access the menu and select attack, skill, item, etc.
Skills can be learned by finding or purchasing scrolls with skills on them and then having the hero use the scroll on themselves. For example, the first scroll received is shield bash which does a massive attack on the square in front of the hero. In most games of this type, a character can change the direction they are facing at any time during their turn. In Rainbow Moon, once movement is complete, the hero is stuck facing that direction either until they are attacked, or their turn comes up again. It took me almost an hour to figure out that you had to press the square button to change the character facing, and unfortunately this can only be done after a player has selected the skill they want to use. There was very little explanation of skills when the first one was equipped and about the only thing that was explained well was the fact that skills could be leveled by using them.
The enemy AI in Rainbow Moon is also extremely simplistic. It looks like they were programmed to use all of their sub turns, even if it means moving away from a hero and making it harder for them to attack. This caused enemies to miss many attack opportunities and if the AI was programmed well it could have made the game much more strategic and fun. Items can be dropped on the battlefield as enemies are defeated and once an item is dropped, an enemy cannot step in that square. Whenever a hard fight came up, I found myself backing into a corner and killing an enemy to make an item drop so that the rest of the enemies could only come at me from one side, thus making them attack me one at a time. This strategy turned fighting into a very boring event that I did not want to take part in.
The game itself has a nice look to it. The colors and background are vibrant, the skills are well animated and the sound effects work well with the attacks. Rainbow Moon has very little voice acting in the game and most of it happens when players talk to characters in stores, healers, crafters, etc. These characters for the most part have one to two word spoken lines, like, “Hello” or “Good-bye” and usually fit the part, except the healer, which sounds like nails on a chalkboard.
Overall Rainbow Moon seems to fall flat on the fun scale. The fights are rather boring once a player understands the enemy AI and the controls. Overall, it’s a SRPG that leaves much to be desired. Did we find gold at the end of this Rainbow? Unfortunately not.