Graphics:
9.2
Gameplay:
8.7
Sound:
9.0
Control:
8.3
Replay Value:
9.0
Overall Rating:
8.9
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
EastAsiaSoft
Developer:
SideQuest Studios
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
Strategy/RPG
Release Date:
December 3, 2013


Rainbow Moon was a godsend for those who missed the good ol’ days of strategy/RPGs. Most critics didn’t like the excessive grinding involved, and the balancing was admittedly a little off (only three characters in battle versus how many foes?). But most old-school games in this niche genre suffered from the very same issues, so at the very least, the in-depth adventure from SideQuest Studios is properly nostalgic. Now, it has arrived for the Vita and it’s basically the same game, but with cross-save and some sprucing up and streamlining of the menus.

The Vita’s beautiful screen really captures the charming color and detail that exemplifies Rainbow Moon . Perhaps the appropriate adjective would be “quaint;” the entire presentation, from the character and enemy design to the sprawling fantasy landscape, is indeed best described as “quaint.” But there’s some foreboding that goes along with that quaintness, as you will explore darker, more intimidating areas, and some of the bigger bosses rank pretty high on the induced fear meter. The special effects, which go on vivid display when you execute a crowd-pleasing special ability, really make the graphics shine, too.

The sound is the perfect complement to the attractive palette, as we get a rousing, classical orchestral score that accompanies our travels. I still want a wider variety of tracks for combat, just because you spend so much time locked in any given encounter. Other than that, though, the score and effects blend together beautifully, and the result is a technically proficient production with tons of appeal. There are no voice performances (as there were none in the olden days) and that great soundtrack can get a little repetitive, even outside of battle, but those are minor complaints. All in all, the visuals and audio are made for each other.

As I said above, in comparison to the PS3 version that released in 2012, this is essentially the same game. You’ve still got a gigantic amount of content, there are still a myriad of challenging and interesting areas to explore, and there’s still that unmistakable addictiveness that all strategy/RPG lovers have experienced. Remember, though, while Rainbow Moon can be compared to franchises like Disgaea , the bright, compelling title from EastAsiaSoft stands on its own. It combines exploration of a world map – which strat/RPGs typically don’t have – with the grid-based tactical combat some of us have adored since Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre .

The reason why this game is so appealing to so many fans is because of this aforementioned combination. There are elements of both role-playing and strategy and despite the amount of grinding required (and the inherent challenge), that won’t be a hurdle for the intended audience. That’s imperative: The audience for this particular title won’t care as much about the obvious shortcomings. Such flaws are expected and even condoned to some extent, provided the core remains as addictive as ever. And let’s face it, for such fans, that addictive quality comes from that burning desire to find better equipment, learn better skills, conquer tougher foes and in general, become as strong as humanly possible.