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    Nearly a year ago, Rainbow Moon released on the PS3, and it was billed as a J-RPG styled Strategy RPG. It received mixed reviews, but it seemed to have met some success. Wanting to bring the game to other platforms, publisher EastAsiaSoft announced that they would port the game to Vita, with some tweaks to the game based on fan feedback. Too bad most of the bad residue still lingers within the game.

    Rainbow Moon starts off with a intro explaining that the first playable Baldren got hoodwinked by his nemesis and pushed into a portal to a planet named Rainbow Moon. After landing in the world and being falsely accused of bringing an army of monsters with him, it’s up to Baldren to clean them up and clear his name, then escape the planet and return home. And that’s pretty much all the plot you get, as the dialogue between main story missions is mostly disconnected to Baldren’s goals. Along the way you will gain several other party members with their own skills. Up to three party members can be used in battle at a time.

    The gameplay plays out from an isometric perspective and the game operates on a day and night cycle. When night hits, or in most dungeons, you will need to use torches or light spells to have a better idea of where things are, otherwise have fun bumbling in the dark. You can camp out and kill some time until the daylight comes in the overworld, but this also consumes a bit of the hunger meter.  If your hunger meter gets to low, you will suffer stat decreases. Hunger meters and light mechanics are interesting from a concept point of view, but they are rarely ever used in a way that is good, and Rainbow Moon is no different. This is because the game also has limited inventory space, and if you want to increase your capacity, you must buy or find scrolls which increase it and the price for these upgrades practically doubles with each purchase. Which leads to another issue in the game, that being the lack of ways to earn money. Without a decent way to earn money early on and later on, the game will force you to grind.

    At least the combat is quick and fun. While on the field, your character can choose to either engage in random battles, or just walk up into the ‘npc’ monsters that are spread out over the map which usually guard loot or towns. When in combat the game takes on a light turn-based combat form,where you have to decide whether or not to spend turns attacking,healing, defending or moving a space. The combat itself is fast though, so getting through battles is mostly painless. I say mostly painless, because there was an odd decision for some of your character’s actions to be direction based. Some actions require you to press a direction on the d-pad or analog stick, while others require you to rotate and hit a button to execute. It’s all very inconsistent and not simple unlike a game such as Shining Force. Also depending on which character lands the finishing blow, you will earn more Rainbow Pearls for that character. These can be used to boost character stats in between gaining levels, but they need to be spent by finding a Savant NPC. It also just feels like a band-aid to fix a slightly imbalanced EXP gaining and monster/character stat system. Maybe level stat boosts as well as more balanced monsters could have made this feature unnecessary.

    The artwork is nice looking and the music is wonderful, but the lack of story, and the addition of some odd design decisions that make the game somewhat repetitive might turn off some. But if you can weather these things and tolerate the game by playing it in bits rather than large chunks, it is a very approachable game. It’s also cheap for those who want a portable on-the-go SRPG. The game can be saved anywhere, but be prepared for a lengthy 40-60 hour adventure.

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