Summary: Tactical role-playing games gained a more mainstream momentum with titles such as Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem on the Nintendo DS due to their bright, friendly graphics and user friendliness. After more notable hardcore strategy RPGs came onto the scene, the whole genre (along with most traditional Japanese RPGs) abruptly got neglected in favor of the new influx of Western RPGs that often includes a focus on action-oriented gameplay and flashier graphics.
Summary: Despite the genre cohesion, Rainbow Moon fails to delve into either genre completely; its limited narrative and unchanging core battle mechanic, although accessible, hold backs this game’s potential.
Pros: Interplay between the looting, leveling and crafting systems, Visually distinctive
Excerpt: The concept of grinding – repeating the same exact actions for small gains – has never been an idea I was terribly fond of. In terms of narrative, it might make sense that your characters hit a virtual wall, one where their opponents are more seasoned, but it never makes sense to us, the players. Once you’ve found yourself grinding, you’re no longer playing for enjoyment; the game has changed the rules and now you’re just trying to keep pace.
Excerpt: Baldren is not popular on Rainbow Moon . Searching for his nemesis Namoris in a mysterious forest full of inter-dimensional portals, he finds himself taken by surprise and knocked into one of the gateways, transporting him to the titular planet. Unfortunately he has not travelled through the portal alone, having been followed by an army of fiendish monsters and thus earning the ire of the local townspeople.
Conclusion: Technically Rainbow Moon is fine. Everything is rendered with appropriate detail and clarity, and the game runs very well. My real problem is with the art which is a cross between generic fantasy and Xbox Live Avatars, which doesn’t click with me at all. There is still a decent sense of humor and life to the world and it’s probably for the best that it’s not another anime fantasy game, but it doesn’t change the fact that I found the art unappealing.
Excerpt: Although you'd be forgiven for thinking that PSN exclusive Rainbow Moon sounds like some Sailor Moon spin-off, it’s a tactical role-playing game. Rainbow Moon is a fairly typical take on the genre: You’ll be spending a lot of time moving your chess pieces around a grid, taking turns, trading MP for spells and thwacking bees --a lot of them-- with swords. In the game, you step into the boots of hero Baldren.
Pros: Mix of random and forced encounters, Mix of strong and weak enemies, Fast paced battle system
Cons: Being punished for making mistakes, Slow pace of the game, Useless game mechanics
Excerpt: I normally have an eye out for anything Strategy RPG-related coming to consoles or the PC, but Rainbow Moon completely missed my radar until about a week or so before it arrived on Sony’s PSN as a downloadable-only title. I had no idea the game was developed by SideQuest Studios, the people that brought us the beautiful-looking and exciting-to-play Soldner-X series. My feelings were mixed towards Rainbow Moon before I played it.