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Rainbow Moon (PS Vita) Review

Rainbow Moon (7)

Players are forgiven for assuming SideQuest Studios are based out of Japan. Much like their compatriots Shin’en Multimedia, SideQuest is a German development house whose painstakingly polished output echoes the sensibilities of Nippon’s golden age of gaming. Söldner-X Himmelssturmer and sequel Söldner-X 2: Final Prototype demonstrated the company crafting one of the better shumps of the last generation, while Rainbow Moon for the PlayStation 3 confirmed that the studio was equally proficient in the strategy role-playing genre.

Now the developer has ported Rainbow Moon to the PS Vita, providing an adept adaptation of the 2012 downloadable title. Mercifully, no compromises have been made in the journey to the portable screen with the studio adding their own (a PS+ subscription isn’t needed) cross-save system and even quashing the rare glitches found in the PS3 iteration. Although players with an aversion for grinding will not appreciate Rainbow Moon’s mechanics, role-playing enthusiasts will likely want to make sure that that their memory cards have enough space to accommodate the 1.4 gigabyte download.

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Beyond the aforementioned affinity for battle repetition, the title’s other drawback is a skeletal narrative. The game’s introduction establishes an impetus for taciturn protagonist Baldren, who is unexpectedly pulled into a portal during a battle with his longtime rival, Namoris. When the hero emerges on the other side of gateway, he finds that a myriad of monsters have followed him and they begin to wreak havoc on the tranquil terrains that make up Rainbow Moon. Although a makeshift motivation is established, the game does little to develop Baldren, forcing combat encounters rather than poignant emotion to serve as the title’s driving force.

Mercifully, warfare and the dividends which result from engagement prove to be undoubtedly compelling. At its core, Rainbow Moon employs a straightforward, turn-based system to depict combat- as players tackle battles which advance the game’s plot as well as an ample supply of optional skirmishes capable to strengthening party members. Initially, confrontations are little more than tit-for-tat affairs with complementary creatures. As players persevere they’ll earn benefits like sub-turns, which grant additional movement and combat opportunities against lesser foes or skills which supplement Baldren’s melee strikes with increasingly powerful area-of-effect attacks. Later, additional allies will fall under player control, with characters like archers and mages complementing the main character’s skillset.

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Smartly, these systems are gradually given to players (and habitually accompanied with a detailed explanation) endowing Rainbow Moon with a compassionate learning curve. That said, some details are purposefully left for gamers to discover. A combination of thoughtful player movement and predictable AI means that players can lure monsters into striking distance, while ensuring party members get the advantage of an initial assault. Once additional sub-turns, increased strength, luck and defensive stats are earned, players can clear a room full of pedestrian enemies without taking an iota of damage. Although, it’s never articulated by the game, the method will inevitably be uncovered through a combination of trial and error as well as repetition.

Rainbow Moon’s core hook can be found in the game’s involving character cultivating components. Defeating foes awards objects which can either be sold for a tidy profit, used by the local craftsman to increase the quality of weapons and armor, or for items- used as a talisman for a diminutive park. Enemies also drop Rainbow Pearls, which are used to provide stat boosts to characters, which are kept balanced by experience level thresholds. Rainbow Coins act as the game’s more traditional currency, allowing gamers to purchase healing, items, as well as torches and food- two provisions that constantly diminish as players explore the game’s dungeons.

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Play yields a marginal amount of earnings, with Rainbow Moon undoubtedly goading gamers into grinding. Regretfully, this system is less about adapting the difficulty level than driving players towards the title’s time-saving micro-transactions. Although these business models are tolerable in free-to-play diversions, they really have no place in paid games. You can’t really shake the feeling that SideQuest Studios fine-tuned the disbursement rate to encourage gamers to reach into their wallets. Sell us additional adventurers, but engineering tedium is shooting yourself in the foot.

Mercifully, monotony doesn’t seep into every moment of Rainbow Moon. Dungeons are particularly interesting, with gamers confronting increasingly powerful creatures and gradually making a map of the dwelling. Exploration extends to the world map; where at first, out of reach treasures spur players into discovery. Steadily, characters open new pathways and once a boat (and later, a sailing ship) are uncovered, Rainbow Moon’s realm becomes fodder for foraging.

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In execution, the PS Vita proves to be even more successful that it’s console-based brethren. Not only does Rainbow Moon lend itself to the type of abbreviated play sessions that are common for commuters, but the game’s isometric visuals look absolutely stunning on the Vita’s screen. The title’s performance is equally as adept, providing an unwavering sixty frame-per second delivery and ephemeral load times when charging into combat. The game’s cross-save functionality performed masterfully, allowing progress to be shared across the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita versions wherever there’s an internet connection.

Although the title isn’t a cross-buy purchase, publisher EastAsiaSoft should be praised for offering a discount to owners of the PS3 iteration. As such, this is a $14.99 purchase for newcomers, $7.50 procurement for returning players- and if they have a PS+ subscription, the price is knocked down to $5.99. Considering that players could easily sink over a hundred hours into Rainbow Moon, an acquisition of this charming adventure title is recommended. Save for an overemphasis on grinding, SideQuest’s title is irrefutably well-built and can be immensely enjoyable in bursts.

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Rainbow Moon was played on the PS Vita with review code supplied by the publisher.

Players are forgiven for assuming SideQuest Studios are based out of Japan. Much like their compatriots Shin'en Multimedia, SideQuest is a German development house whose painstakingly polished output echoes the sensibilities of Nippon’s golden age of gaming. Söldner-X Himmelssturmer and sequel Söldner-X 2: Final Prototype demonstrated the company crafting one of the better shumps of the last generation, while Rainbow Moon for the PlayStation 3 confirmed that the studio was equally proficient in the strategy role-playing genre. Now the developer has ported Rainbow Moon to the PS Vita, providing an adept adaptation of the 2012 downloadable title. Mercifully, no compromises…

Review Overview

Gameplay - 80%
Story - 70%
Aesthetics - 90%
Content - 75%
Accessibility - 85%

80%

Good

Summary : Rainbow Moon for the PS Vita is a meticulous port of the PlayStation 3 version. While it recreates the console iteration’s occupying gameplay, it also duplicates the push toward microtransactions.

User Rating: 3.6 ( 2 votes)

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

33 comments

  1. I forget this was coming to the Vita.

  2. Its about time some from the media calls out a paid game with micro transactions. For some reason the Xbone has gotten a free ride with journos.

    • Great review. Consumers first!

      • Yep, excellent review. One of your best in a long time Robert. Keep us this kind of writing and I will be a loyal reader.

    • It’s understandable that players are worried if they hear about microtransactions. It’s hard to discuss the issue, but just to assure you, Rainbow Moon has not been balanced around them and the game never bugs you to purchase them either. In fact it’s completely playable without them.

      The optional booster packs are, in comparison to the ones you mention in the Xbox One games, non consumable. In other words, you can purchase each booster pack just a single time and you can re-use them as often as you like, whenever you start a new game. In addition, they are also Cross-Buy between PS3/Vita.

      If you are interested in the game, but worry about it, I recommend you to give the demo a try.

      • Having played the PS3 version, I have to disagree.

        Bosses will wipe your team out, forcing you to grind. There’s a lot of grinding in the game that has to be done to defeat them. It’s true you don’t have to buy anything, but the booster packs help you power up faster.

        I feel if the booster packs weren’t there, you wouldn’t have to grind so much.

        • Which difficulty level did you play on? As a basic rule:

          – Play on normal if you don’t want to “grind”. (grind as in do extra optional battles)
          – Do the battles that you come across, don’t evade every single enemy group
          – Upgrade weapons and get the latest skills as early as possible. Improve your weapons through crafting frequently
          – If you are low on cash, remember to sell materials and old equipment

          If you remember this and read other gameplay tutorials, you should be fine.

          • Do you mean accepting every random battle? I’ve been doing that on the PS3 version, and there’s still battles that will kick my butt.

      • I don’t have a problem if the booster packs are cheap. Or if they’re thrown in free with a first week purchase.

        But if they are more than $5 then it seems a bit excessive.

  3. $5.99 isn’t bad at all cor cross-buy.

    I sank about 30 hours into the PS3 version. The game seems much better as a portable game.

  4. Glad the review mentioned the ‘microtransactions’. I feel so deceived by the games press after so many glowing reviews of Forza Motorsport 5 that DIDN’T even mention how hard it was to buy cars, I’ve lost faith in the gaming enthusiast press.

    • Tell me about it.

      I bought the Season Pass like a fool since I enjoyed Forza 4 so much.

      Yeah, it’s got a bunch of great cars, but I can’t afford them unless I play for at least 4 hours a day (about 75,000 credits meaning I have to play for a week or two just to own ONE high-end car that I already paid real money for).

      I’m so seriously pissed about this. I will probably never buy another season pass EVER. Thinking about getting rid of Forza 5.

      • This is why I’m waiting on this generation. The console makers have overstepped their bounds, IMO. Waiting for another backlash.

  5. So it’s $14.99, any PS+ discount if you don’t own it? $11.99 would be my sweet spot.

  6. Waffles for Supper

    I could stomach micro-transactions is this was a free game on PS+. Heard the PS3 version was the mother of all grindfests, so I don’t see myself paying for this.

  7. Excellent, review, Robert. Glad you talked about the transactions. Most other reviews I’ve seen haven’t even mentioned it.

  8. I remember when the game came out for PS3, I was thinking about picking it up. Looked a bit like Disgaea. Is it anything like that game?

    • Additional focus on exploration, while the battles are quicker and a bit more fast paced. Try out the demo (PS3/Vita) if you are curious.

      • Also the battles are a little simpler than Disgaea and FFT. Those games are really chess-like, this is a bit faster and easier.

  9. I’ve seen other reviews (Gaming Age for one) that talk about how grindy this game is, but none talk about the booster packs.

    What’s wrong with the gaming press?

  10. No offense, but when someone says that a pack is optional, I get skeptical. If it’s totally optional, then why would anyone buy it. There needs to be some incentive. And that’s probably were it’s built into the game.

  11. I love the art style. Reminds me of a HD version of a classic 16 or 32 bit game. You know, before there were micro-transactions.

  12. Good review sounds like a fun little game- especially on the Vita.

  13. Checked the booster packs. Most are under $5. I think 50,000 Rainbow Pearls for 4 or 5 bucks as the most expensive one I saw.

  14. $11.99 plus five buck for a booster isn’t HORRIBLE. 😉

  15. Bought last night after reading the review. The game is very good but also quite repetitive. After two hours I’m fighting their same three monsters in every battle. Feel good to level up my character.

  16. Will Rainbow Moon still be on sale next week?