Moonlighter is an Indie game developed by Digital Sun and published by 11 Bit Studios. (Release date May 29, 2018).
They say that first impressions are everything and I buy into that on a small scale. I played Moonlighter for two hours and wanted to stop to give my thoughts on the opening of the game. The game starts simple introducing you to the controls of the character (sort of) but you quickly find out this isn’t going to be an easy journey. Within a few moments your character (Will) is beaten to a pulp and tossed out of a Dungeon luckily to be found be an old man, who of course mentors you.
Then welcome to the town of Rynoka. After a lengthy discussion about being safe you find out that Will is a shop owner by day and dungeon explorer by night. I don’t know when he sleeps. So far the game has kept it quite simple. You sell stuff out of your shop and you actually have the control over the pricing. I thought this aspect definitely made the shop more interesting.
At night you explore the dungeon for items to sell in your shop. There is something else mysterious going on with the dungeons but I haven’t figured it out, yet. As of right now I am enjoying this little indie game. The detail and artwork remind me a lot of Stardew Valley and that’s a good thing.
First impression is out of the way.
Now that I have “put in the work” on this title how about we delve a little deeper into what makes this game work.
This place is your home and your business in one. It is cozy, cute and a place worth upgrading once you’re able. I say upgrade because you will certainly need to do that in order to cater to your clientele. There are four upgrades available plus four item upgrades. After a little while you will be able to access cosmetic upgrades as well. The shop part is fun and can get hectic in a hurry with all the customers coming in and out. Advice, keep an eye out for suspicious characters, not everyone in Rynoka is trustworthy.
There will be a ton of different items you can sell and you will want to watch out for which items are hot and which items are not. I didn’t think I would enjoy this part of the game as much as I did but I found myself racing back to the dungeons to find new items to sale.
First off the dungeons play very similar to the way they play out in The Legend of Zelda, trust me they do. There are four main dungeons you must defeat before accessing the last big door. Each dungeon is comprised of three levels that change every single time you enter it and one big boss on the third level (The bosses are difficult). The variety of monsters that will kill you throughout these dungeons surprised me quite a bit. Some will chase you, others will shoot things at you and some monster will attack you from above. It’s crazy and trust me, you will die a lot if you do not carry potions on you or know when to quick travel back to the town. Yes quick traveling back to town is possible.
You can also buy faeries that will show you the way or you can even buy a portal that will save your spot in the dungeon. I mean they really put some thought into how you get around. Here you will gather items to not only sell in your shop but also upgrade your weapons and armor. Be careful though as some items come with a price for removing them out of the dungeon.
In the town there is a bulletin board. There you can access five upgrades to the town from the Armory shop to the item shop. In each place you can buy stuff outright or gather items from the dungeon to help you get that special item. Note: you must gather items to upgrade weapons and armor. I kind of wanted more things to do in the town. It is small and the people don’t really feel engaging. They say the same things over and over again. It is nice and constructed in a simple manner. It left me wanting more unfortunately.
The combat is fun and difficult. The game looks and plays smoothly. The town, the shop and the dungeons seem to work in a way that makes them almost different games within one game. I really enjoyed that about Moonlighter. It made me want to upgrade my shop or go search for that last item I needed to upgrade my boots. Did the game get repetitive after a while? Yes but I don’t think it was enough to hurt the overall experience. I thoroughly enjoyed Moonlighter and even found myself playing late into the night and into the early part of morning. If you enjoy indie titles and even if you don’t, I would recommend giving this game a chance.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10