Somewhere in the course of history, we all decided that games needed to be shorter. Modern games tend to slot somewhere between eight and ten hours to complete, but only a few years ago it wasn’t uncommon to log more than 40 hours into your favorite release. Rainbow Moon, the latest tactical RPG released by Sidequest Studios, seeks to reclaim those older days–a time when men were men, women were women, and children could log 300 hours into their favorite game without completing the main quest.
We’ll start off positive: Rainbow Moon has some of the most adorable art you’ll find. Characters and environments are cheery and colorful, perfect for younger gamers. While NPC speech bubbles can be hard to read–blue text on a blue background is never a good look–menus are legible and generally convey the important information to the player. The threatening, but not overtly scary monsters would be a treat for younger gamers if there weren’t so many recycled, reskinned models. The isometric view does cause a lot of problems, though. You’ll find your path blocked by the upper branches of a tree, or rooftops–as though the player couldn’t walk behind them.
Gamers looking for a complete audio experience might want to look elsewhere. Rainbow Moon doesn’t offer much by way of voice acting, and what little vocal work you’ll hear isn’t great. The music is largely forgettable, too–I found myself muting my Vita and turning on a podcast more often than not.
So we finally get to length. Yes, Rainbow Moon is long. That’s great! Less great is that Rainbow Moon feels long. When a game expects me to log more than 70 hours, I usually expect it to take pains to keep my attention, but there’s nothing to hold onto here. The central goal–kill all the monsters, find a way home–is introduced in the first five minutes, and the rest of the game is little more than a series of fetch quests. Characters are mere statues, lacking any sort of interplay or personality. Rainbow Moon’s skeletal plot and paper-thin characters keep the player from becoming invested enough to keep playing.
In fact, that might be the most distasteful thing about Rainbow Moon–it feels like a free-to-play game. Think about it: grindy gameplay. Subpar story. Slow character progression. Lack of drama or characters. Hell, Rainbow Moon even has a PSN storefront, where you can pay real money to eliminate most of the grinding. In a game you already paid $15 bucks for.