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Rainbow Moon Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . While I still have a lot of issues with the slow pacing and bland story, I'm happy I had a chance to revisit Rainbow Moon. There's a lot to like about the colorful visuals and long adventure, and at $15, fans of strategy role-playing games will have no problem getting their money's worth. Sadly, not all of its quirks worked on me, but at least now I can see the potential of the series and am eager to see the changes they make for the upcoming sequel. Rating: 57%
Rainbow Moon
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  • Review Score:

  • C+
For as much as I love strategy role-playing games, I couldn't stand Rainbow Moon when I reviewed it back in 2012. While it looked good, the PlayStation 3 game felt unbalanced and geared towards microtransactions. Worst of all, the story was bland and I had a difficult time staying engaged in the lengthy adventure. It was a crushing disappointment.

Looking back on it now, I wonder if I was just in a bad mood or simply unable to get beyond the initial crummy first impressions. But whatever the case is, I find myself enjoying Rainbow Moon a lot more fun now than I did four years ago. It still has a bland story and some questionable gameplay decisions, but this brand new PlayStation 4 version clicked with me in a way the PS3 original never could.


You play Baldren, an adventurer who gets sucked into a portal and spit out into a strange new world. This forces our hero to explore his surroundings, help the local townspeople find missing items and take on the world's many nasty creatures. A lot of the game revolves around fetch quests that earn Baldren an item he needs to advance through the treacherous landscape.

Things start out simple enough, with our hero confined to a mysterious island. He doesn't have much gear, but that won't matter as the enemies are weak. He's all by himself, earning experience and trying to get back home. Before long he snags a creaky raft and discovers that there's a giant world around him. And that is just the start of a crazy adventure that will keep you engaged for dozens of hours.

Although you wouldn't know it at first, Rainbow Moon is a traditional turn-based tactical role-playing game. This means that with each turn you are able to both move your character (or characters, depending on how big your party is) and attack. Early on our hero is limited to only one move per turn, however after gaining a few levels he will pick up more and become a real power player.

Unfortunately, it takes quite a while before we get to the point where our hero can pull off strategic maneuvers. Rainbow Moon is the type of game that likes to drag its feet. Even when the main story starts to pick up, the game is slow to divvy out the new mechanics and characters. This is the type of game that is still introducing new concepts 20 hours in. It takes a good ten hours just to pick up your first friendly companion, and even then you'll need to spend a couple hours grinding to improve their stats and equipment.

Rainbow Moon (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The slow pace didn't bother me as much this time around. While I certainly wanted the game to move a lot faster, I wasn't as impatient when going through the PlayStation 4 version. I think it's because I knew what I was getting myself into, and that made a big difference.

Fans of Final Fantasy Tactics and other strategy role-playing games will feel right at home in Rainbow Moon. Baldren and his team work their way across a small grid and hack the enemies to pieces one turn at a time. It's a time-tested formula that allows our varied heroes to use their unique abilities to take on dozens of nasty enemies at once.

While Rainbow Moon gets a lot of the basics right, I still find the execution a little disappointing. Because the game's camera is a fixed isometric angle, it's not always clear which way your character will walk when you press up. In theory he's supposed to walk the direction he's facing, but that can become confusing with the way the camera is positioned. To the developer's credit, they did add markers on each side of your hero to let you know which button does what. This can certainly get you out of a jam, but is not the perfect solution. Sometimes the chart will be obscured by an object or enemy, forcing players to really concentrate on moving their character.

But even when you get used to the way Rainbow Moon handles, the limited combat options make each battle feel incredibly repetitive. This wouldn't have been as big of an issue if the adventure didn't stretch on so long. And even when you invest in brand new skills, there are only a few worth using. I found myself relying on the same one or two attacks in every single fight, which can't be the way the developers pictured people playing Rainbow Moon.

Rainbow Moon (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

I also found myself questioning a lot of the smaller mechanical issues. For example, the game forces players to pay attention to the character's hunger levels. This means you'll need to stop the action from time to time to feed the adventurers, an interesting idea that felt like needless busywork. I was also confused why the game would pause the action after a minute of inaction or why torches only lasted a few seconds. None of these were deal-breakers, but they did leave me scratching my head.

While I still have a lot of issues with the slow pacing and bland story, I'm happy I had a chance to revisit Rainbow Moon. There's a lot to like about the colorful visuals and long adventure, and at $15, fans of strategy role-playing games will have no problem getting their money's worth. Sadly, not all of its quirks worked on me, but at least now I can see the potential of the series and am eager to see the changes they make for the upcoming sequel.
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