Recently PlayStation Network had a massive sale on various titles including Rainbow Moon and I took this as an opportunity to check out a unique looking turn-based SRPG (strategy role playing game) which I normally might not have given a chance to. I selected hard mode and an adventurous start, which in this game means you literally embark on a new world with no items other than the most basic sword to begin with. The resulting hours of gameplay were fascinating and left me wondering why I haven’t heard more about this game before.
As players vanquish foes experience is earned and level-ups occur, but Rainbow Pearls are also earned which allow players to increase attributes such as Strength, Defense, Speed, Luck, HP, MP, etc. even before they level up. For gamers who love a finely tuned grind, Rainbow Moon is a very enjoyable treat. While normal mode offers a more straight-forward, story-driven campaign, the hard mode of this game is more reminiscent of the classic role playing games of yester-year. Thankfully the situation isn’t a save-scrubbing nightmare nor a roguelike death spiral. Players will respawn with one health point and the loss of any experience gained during a lost battle, but other than that their scenario is restored to before the fight took place.
As players engage in encounters to clear their path or just gain experience, they’ll eventually earn the ability to have multiple ‘sub-turns’ allowing them to plan out more than one command per turn. The game’s enemies will present more and more strategic battle scenarios the greater this ability becomes. Additionally, there’s also a chance enemies will get more sub-turns than expected every once in a while depending on the speed attributes of players and those beasts they face off against.
Like many SRPGs, grid-based movement decisions can be critical to how any given battle will play out. Because of the way this system works in giving players and enemies varying sets of turns each battle and the ever-increasing ease at which players can knock out an opponent, fights scale up drastically. Skills often do considerably more damage and cost MP but have their own levels which increase with repetitive use. The number of enemies encountered begins to skyrocket early on. Competent tactical decision making becomes essential. Risk and reward elements are well in place to celebrate the victories this quick thinking can bring. With each victory comes more power, new abilities, but also increased challenge. And every new enemy discovered is leagues more powerful than the last.