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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: EastAsiaSoft
Developed By: SideQuest Studios
Genre: Role-Playing Game (RPG)
Players: 1
Rated: E10+ (Mild Language, Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence)
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Price: $14.99 Vita Version (Buy Now!); $22.49 PS3/Vita Version (Buy Now!)
Screenshots: Link
Written By: Matthew Prunty

February 24, 2014 - What can I say about developer SideQuest Studios that hasn’t already been said. This dedicated German indie team as crafted many memorable experiences through the years on the PS3 including the likes of Söldner-X: Himmelsstürmer, Söldner-X 2: Final Prototype and console version of this game, Rainbow Moon. With their first venture into Sony’s mighty console, the team opted to port over Rainbow Moon from PS3 to Vita. While many development teams fail at a task like this, SideQuest Studios rose to the challenge with rousing success. Rainbow Moon for the PlayStation Vita is a great representation of what the handheld is capable of and what the developer can do with the team is focused.

Rainbow Moon is one of those RPGs that barrows elements from RPGs that have made a name for themselves in order to create a memorable experience that is unique to itself. Those familiar with level grinding, equipment and character upgrading and overwhelming opponents will feel right at home with Rainbow Moon. However, unlike titles within established franchises like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, Rainbow Moon provides is a welcome challenge that will reward you for the amount of time and effort put into the experience.

The story within Rainbow Moon is rather simplistic; however it does its job of setting up your epic quest. You play as protagonist, Baldren, who finds himself stranded on a distant world known as Rainbow Moon. Being tricked and attacked from behind, Baldren was forced through a dimensional rip, which also brought with him a plethora of monsters who are wreaking havoc on the once peaceful moon. Along his epic journey, you will be join by a varying cast of characters as your rid the moon of the monster before returning home. Pretty straightforward and simple, but just enough to get you motivated for the challenge that lies ahead.

The battles within Rainbow Moon are broken down into two types - Direct and Indirect – with the latter being your decision to participate in. Whether you focus only on direct confrontation or mix it up with the random battles that you are presented with, the onscreen action remains the same. Your first several forays in battle will have you as a lone soldier against a variety of enemies. As you progress through your journey, you will meet new allies that will join you on your quest. You can have a total of three combatants participating in the battle at any time. The battles you participate can range in opponents of one to twenty, and depending on the how many combatants and who make up the group; you will have to plan out your attacks to in order to be the survivor(s) at the end.

The onscreen combat is turn-based and plays out on a gridded battlefield. You and your opponents take turn attacking one another in order to claim victory. Because you can’t freely attack how you choose, strategy becomes a big part of your battles, especially once you past the first few hours of gameplay. Along the way you and your comrades will acquire various skills like Shield Bash, X-Ray Review and even Guard Strike to name just a few. These skills can give you the upper hand in a battle (offensive and defensive); sometimes event saving you from an imminent defeat. Also exploiting the strengths of your character(s) and the weaknesses of your opponent(s) will make for intriguing confrontations. Just like the story, the combat is simple and straightforward, however when encompass all the facets of it, you end with an enthralling experience that’s very satisfying and rewarding at the same time.

Looting chests and defeating enemies will net you two types of currency – Rainbow Coins and Rainbow Pearls – which will be used to upgrade your characters stats, buy new more powerful equipment and revive a fallen alley in battle. The Rainbow Coins are used to purchase goods like potions, weapons, armor and skill scrolls. The Rainbow Pearls allow you to upgrade you stats like Hit Points, Defense, Strength, Speed and Luck. Each one of these stats is just as important as the other. Luck lends a hand in determining whether when attacked, they land a devastating attacks; an attack at all. Higher levels of Strength allow for more devastating attacks on your part. Speed determines who attacks first and how often you can attack in between your enemy attacks. Defense determines how much damage you take on when being attacked. Lastly, but also equally important is the Hit Points, which are basically your life points. These will also increase alongside your Magic Points every time your level up.

While I can go on and on about the gameplay mechanics incorporated into Rainbow Moon, I can’t forget to mention the crisp visual punch that the game packs. The character designs are simplistic, yet fully realized and highly detailed. Whether traversing the moon or in a heated battle, the quality of the artwork is evident. The varying levels are distinct and offer up tons of variety via set pieces and an array of enemies to do battle with. The visual caliber of the Vita version of Rainbow Moon matches the crisp details of the PS3 version thanks in part to the gorgeous OLED screen (original model). You won’t hear a lot of voiceover work within Rainbow Moon outside of cutscenes, which is ok as you more of your time will be spent immersed in the world.Throughout the game, when engaging NPCs for information and to activate main and side quests, you will hear little quips like “Hello” and “Goodbye” before and proceeding being greeted with onscreen text. The soundtrack is very catchy and fits the mood of the game. I found myself bouncing along to the tunes during and in between battles.

The main quest within Rainbow Moon can easily last your 50-60 hours depending on how you approach the game. While the side quests are not mandatory, they do offering unique and interesting opportunities to level up your character(s) even more and acquire loot that you would otherwise miss out on. There is also an intuitive leaderboard system which keeps track of your performance within Rainbow Moon and how you stack up against the competition. Though the game has only been out a few months, looking at the leaderboards easily shows individuals who have reach levels similar to that the leveling system in the Disgaea series. The #1 ranked person has invested more than 265 hours into the game and is currently level 863. While you don’t need to invest nearly as much time as this person, you can easily see that this game can and will go on and on and you want It to.

Rainbow Moon for the Vita also supports Cloud Saves, allowing you to share you game progress across both the Vita and PS3 versions of the game. This feature doesn’t require the player to be a PlayStation Plus subscriber. Those already own the PS3 version can upload their game save(s) to the Rainbow Moon cloud and download them on the Vita and continue exactly where they left off. In order to do this, simply visit the NPC near the dimensional portal. For those interested in picking up both versions of the game (PS3 and Vita), simply click on the supplied link at the above and enjoy this wonderfully-crafted masterpiece.

Rainbow Moon is one of those gems that comes along every once in a while. For the price of $15, you get an enriched experience that packs more into its downloadable release than many retail released $60 titles. You can easily sink dozens upon dozens of hours into the experience and be happy and challenged throughout every bit of it. While this game doesn’t go for a Hollywood style presentation; all show and no bark like many of its bigger siblings, Rainbow Moon indeed packs the same wealth of content and value and a whole lot more. While I will be playing this title for sometime into the foreseeable future, I like many gamers can’t wait to see what next for SideQuest Studios.


Review copy provided by the Publisher

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