Rainbow Moon Review
Tactical RPGs are – by their very nature – intricate, stat-heavy and impenetrable. Only those willing to spend time to understand and break through layers of complex mechanics and strategy will see them through to the end.
But as tactical as it may be, Rainbow Moon is accessible to the layman, thanks to plain-English tutorials, and a slow learning curve – even if it is tough from the outset.
The plot follows Baldren – a knight tricked into teleporting to Rainbow Moon, triggering a quest to find a way home. It’s a streamlined narrative, free from reams of intrusive text, leaving most of the talking to NPCs found in towns and encampments. This keeps the action flowing nicely, but does water down the plot significantly.
As you explore large, colourful environments you will be prompted with random turn-based battles that you can choose to ignore or engage, removing the need for forced grinding – although you will need to grind a lot to level up further into the game. Once activated, the game transfers to a grid-based battle arena.
Your tactical options are slim at the start of the quest, but grow slowly as you recruit new party members and purchase new skills from vendors.
Each character has a set number of actions per turn, which can be used to move across the board, attack, spend MP on skills, defend or use items. It’s a simple system to understand, but hides real depth.
Random battles occur more frequently during the night.
Once you have a full party and are up against ten or more brutal enemies, you really do need to plan several steps ahead to come out the other side alive.
Victories are then rewarded with experience, loot drops and Rainbow Pearls which can be cashed in for stat boosts via trainers.
As you plough through battles, the difficulty curve and amount of grinding required rises sharply around about level six, but thanks to a lenient checkpoint system, defeat simply results in Baldren respawning just before your previous battle with minimal health.
Few games in the genre are this forgiving, but this is further testament to the careful balance between accessibility and challenge the developer has struck.
This is helped along by drip-feeding status effects, skills, formation patterns and extra characters at a smart pace, ensuring you are never bombarded by information, but still provided with a tactical challenge throughout.
Although Rainbow Moon’s narrative is dangerously threadbare, the locales are brimming with artistry and colour, bolstered by a superb soundtrack.