Today we are taking a look at something a bit different- Moonlighter, an action RPG developed by the small team at Digital Sun. This game came out back in May but recently made its way to the Nintendo Switch, making now a perfect time to shine some light on it once again. Moonlighter is a cute and colourful game that reminds me of ‘The Binding of Isaac’ with its dungeons. Meanwhile the economy system is similar to what you’ll find in something like Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon, with the ability to interact with NPCs and upgrade the town.
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The moment you load the game, you are hit by it’s positively adorable pixel graphics. I’ve always had a soft spot for these types of games as to me, as the focus is less on high-end graphics and more on fun game mechanics. Beyond that, these kinds of games remove the need for a top notch gaming system and are easy to run.
The game recommends that you play with a controller but I wanted to try the keyboard anyway. Things started off well with ‘WASD’ for the usual movement controls but binding keys like ‘J’ and ‘K’ for attacks was far less intuitive. Using ‘Z’ and ‘C’ to navigate the inventory was also a let down. I can see why they recommend a controller, as the game works like a charm with a gamepad in hand, making everything much easier to figure out.
In Moonlighter, you take on the role of ‘Will’, a shopkeeper by day and a dungeon crawler by night. The aim of the game is to do what no other person has done before and figure out how to get into the 5th dungeon. You’ll spend your nights looting and then during the day, you will be selling your goods to stock up on gold. You can use your leftover money and materials to upgrade the town to gain access to new NPCs, like a Blacksmith or an Enchanter. These new NPCs let you unlock new gear and upgrades. You can also spend money to upgrade your own shop.
Scouring through dungeons is kept fresh as each one is randomly generated, meaning you will always be presented with new challenges in each room. This also means that the dungeon layout is different and you’ll be presented with different items, so you will need to keep your wits about you. However, each dungeon does have one thing in common, they are split into three separate levels and a BOSS level at the very end. Unfortunately, I never made it as far as the boss because I struggled to get past level 2 of the first dungeon. I found myself without the right gear upgrades and dying will cause you to lose everything in your inventory, forcing you to start from scratch.
When you do leave a dungeon and get on to selling your loot, you will need to be careful. If you price your items too high, customers will be angry with you and refuse to pay up. If you price too low, then you are missing out on profits to fund your next adventure. There is a book in your shop that tells you what is in high or low demand but it doesn’t tell you how much each piece of loot is worth, so there is some guess work involved.
Once you do land on a good selling price for a specific item, the book will remember that and will relist it for you. In the early stages of the game though, you’ll need to do plenty of adjusting to find the sweet spot and keep customers happy.
During the opening hours of the game, you are pretty much left to your own devices as you run through the kill/loot/sell/upgrade loop. This has left me wondering how the story progresses. I imagine it will pick up after finishing the first entire dungeon, or upon unlocking certain items but I haven’t got that far just yet.
KitGuru Says: Moonlighter is a cute indie action RPG. You’ll want to be using a controller as the keyboard controls are a bit odd but it seems like fun and is currently 25% off on Steam. Have any of you played Moonlighter at all?