Rainbow Moon Review

The pieces are in place for a fine adventure, but Rainbow Moon's shallow mechanics have limited appeal.

by

With two companions dead and an oozing blob quivering ominously nearby, the odds are heavily stacked against you. One ectoplasmic belly flop can instantly undo all of your hard-fought slaying. In situations where your back is against the wall, Rainbow Moon envelops you with its tactical delights. But such moments are rare. The pieces that provide the foundation for this strategy role-playing game are competently executed, but never coalesce into something substantial. So you lackadaisically complete quests and cut through swaths of enemies, hoping Rainbow Moon rises above its lesser elements. Alas, that time never arrives.

Set to square off against his malevolent nemesis, Baldren is unexpectedly whisked away to a foreign land through a mysterious portal. Upon landing in this unknown world, the hero finds that he wasn't the only creature to make it through the portal. Monsters now roam the countryside, invading people's homes and causing chaos in idyllic pastures. Once the plot is set in motion, the story fades into the background, letting you focus on killing baddies instead of watching non-interactive cutscenes. The emphasis on combat and exploration over storytelling keeps the pace moving along, but because there aren't interesting characters or plot developments to keep you engaged, there's little motivation to fix the wrongs you set in motion.

Townsfolk and creatures populate the brightly colored countryside. Talking to benevolent citizens queues up quests to take part in, and there's a healthy assortment of side missions to complement your more important quest goals. Exploration is important because people and items are located in the oddest places, so poking your head into every nook reaps plenty of rewards. It's unfortunate that the simple act of walking is handled so clumsily. Impenetrable boundaries carve the world into a series of elaborate mazes, and it's not always clear where you can and cannot pass. You might be able to step under a tree in one place but have to run around another one later on, and such discrepancies make it feel as if you're searching for weak points rather than freely exploring this strange world.

Never trust a winged creature.

It's a small problem, but one emblematic of the way Rainbow Moon is designed. Every element is adequately done, but each is hampered by a number of noticeable faults. The many ups and downs in Rainbow Moon are on clear display in the combat encounters, which make up the vast majority of your adventuring. Enter into fights by making contact with a monster blocking your path and you're warped to a grid-based battlefield to settle your differences with swords and arrows. The absence of random battles is a smart design decision, considering how often you have to backtrack, and you'll never want for combat because you can enter into a duel just about whenever the mood hits you.

Like exploration, fights have an isometric perspective, though the view isn't zoomed out quite enough to let you take in the entire arena in one shot. Combat plays out in a predictable, yet enjoyable manner. Once it's your turn to move, you can position your character elsewhere, attack an enemy with a standard attack, use an item, or execute a skill. Skills are the most important abilities in your repertoire. These are powerful attacks and handy buffs which can be bought at stores and given to specific characters. Using this framework, you and your enemies circle the battlefield, moving in for attacks when the opportunity presents itself or retreating to heal when your health gets low. There's a sleepy rhythm that elicits some satisfaction when you conquer your foes, but rarely provides the energy to be exciting.

Disappointingly, there's little depth in the combat mechanics. In other tactical RPGs, you gain attack bonuses based on your position. For instance, clambering to higher ground might improve your range or striking a foe in the back might yield more damage, but such intricacies are absent here. Positioning is a simple consideration, so as long as you're lined up with your foe, the door is open to whale away at them. Furthermore, your enemies rarely present a challenge. Outside of the hardest boss battles, enemies are pushovers, so you cleave through them without having to put much thought into your actions. Although the core of Rainbow Moon's combat is fine, it's so shallow that it fails to engage for long.

A basement is no place for ghoulies and blobs.

Further problems arise in the leveling system. By defeating foes, you earn experience points, and you gradually become a more adept fighter as you gain levels. Although this process is automated, there's a separate system that lets you fine tune your attributes. Characters earn rainbow pearls when they deliver the final blow to an enemy. Earn enough pearls and you can directly upgrade your strength, speed, and other attributes. Problems crop up when new characters join your group. New party members are frequently lower in level than your veteran characters, so if you want them to match the characters you've been playing as, they have to finish off enemies. Because they are often weak and slow, you have to wait around in battles until they can snuff out an enemy's life. This is a tedious process. Juggling your lineup wastes valuable time, dragging the quick pacing down. And because characters only level up when they're active members of your party, experimentation is kept to a minimum.

It's a shame there are so many problems with the core components because Rainbow Moon is quite enjoyable at times. Powerful enemies (usually part of a side quest) roam the land, some much stronger than you, so there's a constant pull to become stronger so you can finally stand in the same arena as these creatures. There's an undeniable rush when you finally topple a being who has hounded you for hours, and that blood lust pushes you forward to see what new beasts there are to slay. This lure is present in many role-playing games, however, and there's nothing Rainbow Moon does to separate itself from the crowd. Even with dozens of hours of content, Rainbow Moon is a flawed and uneven adventure that stumbles as often as it entertains.

The Good
Lots of content
Killing difficult foes is exciting
The Bad
Shallow combat
Tedious upgrade system
Little motivation to keep playing
6
Fair
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Drkr_Zen
Drkr_Zen

Everything is "shallow" and "dull" with this guy... lol. And, usually with so many great games like this, Dust: An Elysian Tail and others. 

roosteraxe1
roosteraxe1

While I feel his overall score's a bit harsh, I do agree with his review. This game could certainly use a lot of fine tuning. It's still a very good game though. Probably worthy of being a full-price purchase, let alone $15, or at least double the price. I'd personally give it a 7.5-8. I think part of the problem with reviews like this is that reviewers tend to get jaded when their job is to play through games. I've read many a review that harshly trashed games that everyone I know thoroughly  enjoyed. I think reviewers expect too much from games after a while. I guess it's only natural. When you do something for fun it's easier to forgive flaws, when you're forced to do that same thing you're bound to notice every flaw much more than you normally would.



jackyccm
jackyccm

I think it is wrong to call this game an SRPG. It's a traditional turn-based RPG with a grid battlefield, much like Koudelka. 

Personally I rate this game around 8 for this is the first RPG that I have clocked in 60 hours, and the game tells me that I am only HALFWAY DONE!


The things I like about the game are the humor, the battle, the exploration of the intricately designed dungeons, and the side quests. In terms of game design, this is one of the better ones that I have seen in a long time, from the balance of character stats to the inventory management to how well the monetary and Pearls systems are implemented (in such a way that it constantly gives you the urge to just want to buy the DLC for loads of coins and Pearls - but even if you didn't, the game gives you just enough to get by).

jonnyb81
jonnyb81

After a long day of work, this is a really nice game to come home and play for an hour before bed.  After you figure out the fairly simple mechanics, it can be enjoyable to just wander around and fight monsters or do some exploring.  I was kinda bummed to see such a low score because I was hoping this game would do well enough in sales for them to make a sequel.  

jookiyaya
jookiyaya

why was it scored low? I just downloaded this on psn and im VERY impressed with the fighting system the graphics and sounds! ^_^

dellis66
dellis66

I am very picky and all I have to say is this game is great

VileMoogle
VileMoogle

I'd say the review's pretty accurate, but I'm surprised there's no mention of the music.  The music was pretty great, I think. :(

kuraimen
kuraimen

Tom McFail strikes again with his poorly written and biased reviewing. He should get another job.

Export
Export

Gamespot has been favor xbox over ps3 for years now . Go to ign and they give it an 8 out of 10 . Gamespot is bias and i never listen to there reviews anymore . The select/start and odd stories are what I come here for .

drduck90232
drduck90232

Very poor review, I clocked over 50 hours into this and have far more to find and do in the game, for $15 it's a steal. And yes to all the Trolls, everyone has their opinion and this is mine, I give it a solid 8 out 10 for many many hours of great, addictive game play. If the game isn't taxing your brain on some of the battles, then you should have played on Hard difficulty,   Giving this a 6 makes me wonder why i bother coming to Gamespot and urge people to search other, more reputable sites for slightly more informed opinions.  Some of which you may or may not agree with but 6!  Come on :)

TrueProphecy22
TrueProphecy22

Not a masterpiece of the genre by any means... but at 15$, I'd say it's a decent diversion. 

Runock
Runock

Mildly entertaining game. There are better choices for yer gaming dollar but it's not a terrible value at $15

unbentonslaught
unbentonslaught

His complaints about the game seem pretty minor, but the gameplay footage makes me think that it would get really boring really fast. 6.0 seems accurate

MasterKingMP
MasterKingMP

The review is fair.  I bought the game a week ago.  I'm level 10 and just landed on the second island area.  I'm having a bit of a hard time getting into it.  The lack of story and likable characters makes me not want to go any further.  However, given that this is a 15 dollar game, I may be nitpicking a bit.  I'm gonna put it back on later today and try to make some more progress in the game.  Btw, I'm playing Normal mode/Adventurous.  The game isn't bad, it's alright.

Radu_Magus
Radu_Magus

I think the review was spot-on. I wouldn't give it more than a 6. Sure, it's a little fun, but kinda weak in many departments. And I don't think the price should justify a higher value.

callamL
callamL

You sir are a fucking moron, ive read many reviews on this game, all good. However you are too stupid to realize how good this game is. Do us a favour and never review a game again.

vyse_1986
vyse_1986

Very poor review because Tom obviously only played on the easiest setting. On Hard, enemies will kill you in 2-3 hits if you mess up and you have to think about what you're doing. If you play a game on the easiest setting and notice it's too easy, you should at least look at the harder settings before you start writing text, at least if you're even thinking about giving a game a fair review. Tom obviously didn't because he didn't care about the game and just wanted to get the review out of the way.

I agree with all the other flaws he mentioned, but at least the game is aware of them. It even tells you in the tutorials that battles are what this game is about.

 

valdarez
valdarez

@tommcshea You should be happy!  Word on the street is they plan on increasing the difficulty with a DLC pak that adds random CAPTCHA query verifications throughout battle. Win!

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

Very-very smooth animation, cool music. 

The_Evil_Elf
The_Evil_Elf

If you want to know why people are knocking Tom for a poor review...it is because he didn't take into account the price...as far as games I can't remember the last time a ratio of (time of enjoyment)/(money spent) was this high for a new game which is a pretty big deal...and when Tom's reviews are significantly lower than the metacritic and user score, it shows he's off base...

luffy11234
luffy11234

Just looks like Record of Agarest War

blackace
blackace

Doesn't look like a game I would play. I do love Strategy RPG's like FF Tactics, Valkyria Chronicles and Tactic Ogre.  This game doesn't seem to compare to those however.

axlroselm
axlroselm

He did not mention the greatest strong point of the game: This is a 15$ game! On this price point some faults are excusable. I agree, combat is shallow, but it is better than many 60$ RPGs.

RatchetV1
RatchetV1

I have to admit that this is a fair review, even though I love this game. I'm having a blast playing on the hardest settings, but I paid for the rings & stuff which make the game a lot easier. Had I not purchased those, the game would probably be pretty tedious. This game encourages players to purchase more to improve their experience, which in result makes a 6 review okay with me. 

riff_farmer
riff_farmer

It's funny how the game mechanic's Tom ridicules are the same mechanics I enjoy.  Had the leveling system been the way Tom suggested, I would have found the difficulty lacking (i.e. I enjoy the "tediousness" of targeting specific characters to level).

tachsniper
tachsniper

I don't get Gamespot. there is no rhyme or reason to any of their reviews. For instance this game would have gotten a better score if Kevin reviewed it.

Daddio93
Daddio93

Whenever ya see Tom's pic up the top of a review: heart sinks

SolidTy
SolidTy

Another Game McShea'd! lol.

Vambran
Vambran

Looks like a poor mans Disgaea.

TheBlackViolin
TheBlackViolin

 @Export Agreed. Was surprised to see that the new Persona fighting game got a higher rating on the PS3.

jookiyaya
jookiyaya

 @drduck90232 I agree, I just downloaded this on PSN and im VERY impressed with the fighting system and the sounds! It's like SNES but better hehe!

syseong
syseong

 @unbentonslaught Don't simply judged the game from the footage, give it a try, you sure will love it.  Many more secrets and surprises are waiting for you.

chanut
chanut

 @MasterKingMP 

You should play on hard. Hard is "normal" IMO.  It will make the game much better.

PS. I am 30 hours into the game.

CMOTKarlos
CMOTKarlos

Seriously? Are you such a butthurt basement dweller that you attack a reviewer because he has a different opinion to you? You have given zero reasons why you disagree. Perhaps you should go ahead and write your own review. If you can write in an engaging and effusive manner, getting me interested in the game, I may check it out. But I wont call you a moron if I play it and don't like it - neither will I ask you to never review again.

Now do us a favour and never leave such a silly comment again. 

chanut
chanut

 @blackace 

I like FF tactics, Valkyria Chronivcles and tactics Orges.

I recommend you pick this game and play it on hard. It becomes complex when you have more party members. (you don't have to buy any DLC) 

 

This is 15$ game for 100 hours. You can just enjoy it for 10 hours if you don't like it that much.  

 

 

 

Steba93
Steba93

 @tachsniper It might've, this is just Toms opinion, not Kevins. Not everyone likes the same type of games or picks the same bad things or they're just not bothered by the bad things or they find them fun or other aspect draws them in so much that they're not that bothered by some other aspects. Tom gave it 6, fair, that's his opinion, I just don't get why people can't accept other peoples opinions.

vyse_1986
vyse_1986

 @Gelugon_baat He stated that enemies are pushovers, and also that the battle system is shallow because all you have to do (according to him) is stand next to your enemies and hit attack. Maybe that works on Normal where enemies are easy, but on Hard, doing this will get you killed in less than a minute.

 

If you play this game on Hard for a few hours and then read this review again, it's obvious that Tom either didn't play on Hard, or ignored Hard Mode for this review. Whatever the case, the review misinforms readers by implying that the game is too easy to be fun, when it is in fact one of the most challenging RPGs that has been released in the last few years.

the_requiem
the_requiem

 @Steba93  @tachsniper I don't know which review but I read one which mentioned "if grinding is its own reward for you, then this is a must play game."

 

A good review is more than just an opinion. People don't read reviews to read opinion, but to make a purchase decision. Good review gives you enough information in simple enough terms to know if this is game for you or not.

 

This review ignored a very important point in positives: Price.

fullframework
fullframework

 @Gelugon_baat  Once again, your Lawful nature is conflicting with the overtly Chaotic nature of this site.

slainta
slainta

 @Gelugon_baat Results? Only one ot of many: Street Fighter IV. Even Enslaved showed in the search result the X360 box. I tried the major games and they all showed the X360 box. Even Dark Souls! They used to have the search listing a link for each platform. What happened to that?

 

Regarding the spamming, Sir, you're the one replying to anyone that doesn't agree with the review. Are you a GS employee by any chance?  Did you at least play the game to reply on that topic? Talking about smoke..

slainta
slainta

 @Gelugon_baat They show only X360 box, that's enough!! It is called "commercial", buddy. I tried the same with FF XIII, RE5, FF XIII-2. They do not even show the PS3 link! Which can make some people think there isn't the PS3 version. A couple of times I clicked on PS3 exclusives and I was redirected to some X360 pages. Most of the mistakes are in favour of MS. Is it glitchy? This site is worth millions of dollars! What, they don't have the resources for fixing it now?? There are not excuses, as it is now, GS is a MS branch. Deal with it and quit spamming, mister. 

slainta
slainta

 @Gelugon_baat Right. Then let's try something else: from this section (PS3) do a search for Darksiders. You'll get Darksiders I & II for X360, none for PS3. Repeat the experiment for any other multiplatform game. and count.And anyway it wasn't "fixed" a year ago. It still happened to me a couple of months ago or so. This site redirects to bleeding M$. One must be blind for not seeing it.

slainta
slainta

 @Gelugon_baat Oh really? is it a perception that 90% of times I click on a PS3 game I get the X360 page opening up instead? Absolutely irritating.

vyse_1986
vyse_1986

 @Gelugon_baat I wouldn't consider myself a fan of Rainbow Moon. I play the game and enjoy it, but being a fan requires a lot more than that.

 

If have no problem with the reviewer's opinion. As I said, there are valid reasons to dislike this game, and there are other low-scoring reviews for this game that I'm perfectly fine with. However, a review also contains facts: The number of game modes, whether a game has glitches or long load times, and also the difficulty - these are all facts. So, when he says "enemies are a pushover", he makes it sound like it's a fact. If that statement is wrong, however, that makes it a factual error, and that's what pisses me off.

 

That being said, looking back at my initial post, I could have worded my comment a lot more politely. The bashful tone of that comment puts it on the same level as those written by the "Tom should get fired" guys. So, let me try again:

 

"If you play on Hard Mode, the game is actually very challenging. The combat system only covers the basics (moving, attacking, magic, items, defending), but it still offers enough depth to make you think about how to use your turns. I agree that there's no story to speak of and the characters completely lack any kind of personality, but the game's focus is on the battles. So, if you enjoy challenging RPGs with the occasional grindfest, this game is actually very enjoyable."

 

Better?

 

The last part of my last post was uncalled for, but I still wonder what your motivation is. It seems like you're getting in the face of every single person who disagrees with the review. Most of these people are just trolls, anyway, so talking to them is futile.

vyse_1986
vyse_1986

 @Gelugon_baat To inform people who were interested in this game, but hate easy games, that there is in fact a higher difficulty setting which is very challenging. In other words, I'm giving them information which cannot be found in the review. I don't think that it's weird to do this.

 

I could also redirect that question at you - you're spending a lot of time and energy to convince a lot of players who like the game that the game is bad and that the review is just, when you obviously have no interest in this game. Almost like you're working for NIS or Square-Enix and attempting to get rid of a competitor in its infancy by badmouthing their first game.

vyse_1986
vyse_1986

 @Gelugon_baat Okay, I don't know if he tried Hard Mode, but the fact remains that he didn't even mention it in the review. In my opinion, if he's going to complain about Normal being too easy, it's his job as a professional reviewer to at least mention that there's an optional difficulty setting providing a much bigger challenge.

 

On Hard Mode, it doesn't do anything that most tactical RPGs haven't done before, but I never said that it does. However, it presents you with a number of options that you have to consider in order to fight efficiently. Figuring out a way to deal big amounts of damage to your enemies, while at the same time limiting the amount of damage done to your party, is very rewarding. 

 

Rainbow Moon isn't anything special, but it doesn't have to be. It has its fair share of flaws that aren't mentioned in this review: The voice acting is offensively bad, the slime enemies are a crime against good game design, and the DLC is horrible now matter how you put it. But it's challenging and fun to play, and that's really all I want from it.

Rainbow Moon

  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation Vita
Rainbow Moon is a strategic role-playing game with a strong emphasis on character development.
ESRB
Everyone 10+
All Platforms
Check out even more info at the Rainbow Moon Wiki on Giantbomb.com
Average User Score See all 75 Player Reviews
7.8
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