Offering a slightly different take on the Strategy RPG genre, Rainbow Moon tries to use mechanics found in more traditional RPGs to give gamers something different than the standard fare.
Opening with barely enough plot to set the scene, the game places the player in Baldren’s shoes as he attempts to return home from the world of Rainbow Moon. Baldren is a generic silent protagonist who goes on to recruit five other characters who will become just as silent the moment they join the party. Quests are used to move the player from one area to the next, though most of these can be boiled down to either fetching items or speaking to the various NPCs found in the world.
What it lacks in story Rainbow Moon attempts to make up for with gameplay. The game employs a classic turn-based strategy system found in classics like Final Fantasy Tactics and Disgaea. Initially only a single action can be performed each turn, increasing as additional levels are gained. This also applies to enemies faced in battle; fighting a new opponent is often about finding how many actions they can perform each turn and what their ideal character to target is.
For a game that relies on its gameplay there are some serious flaws with its systems. Enemies in Rainbow Moon have a preferred target in the party, often leading to bad decisions by the AI. Early on in the game golems will ignore the melee hero as they make for the archer. No unit can ever occupy the same tile; actions will be used up by enemies doing absolutely nothing if they cannot reach a character. Defeated enemies often drop a bag of loot on the floor. The contents of the bag is given to a player after the battle or when a character moves onto the tile containing it, although for the duration the bag is on a tile enemies cannot move onto it. In fights containing large numbers of enemies this can be used to limit how many can move into melee range at any time, or even prevent them from reaching you at all!
Characters advance by gaining experience in combat. Gaining additional levels increases maximum HP, MP, maximum stats and possibly extra actions. Extra stats are bought by using pearls, a form of currency earned by landing a killing blow on enemies in battle. While XP is given to all participants in battle, pearls are earned by individual characters. When a new character joins the party a little backtracking is useful to ensure that the newbie has enough pearls to raise their stats to the point that they can actually be useful.
Enemies are found wandering the world map and dungeons of Rainbow Moon, most guarding paths required to access other areas of the game. Enemies can also be encountered through optional random battles while in the wild. Rainbow Moon employs a day/night cycle where a greater number of enemies show up during night time encounters than during the day. Visibility is limited during the night unless a source of illumination is found through items or spells.
The graphics in Rainbow Moon are nothing extraordinary, though they are pleasant enough to look at. Units are animated during combat and while moving on the world map. Enemy models are often recoloured and presented as ‘new’, sometimes even in the the same dungeon as an older enemy type. Character models are updated to reflect their current equipment.
The music is largely forgettable. It is not horrible by any means, but none of the compositions are catchy enough to be remembered for the right reasons. A little more effort would have been appreciated here as the publisher is trying to sell the thirty-two track compilation on their own site.
In conclusion, Rainbow Moon is a grind-heavy SRPG that tries to be different but comes up short. The main story is roughly thirty to forty hours of play, with plenty of optional content to keep the completionists busy.