Rainbow Moon: A small step for the strategy kind.
The Strategy Role-Playing Game is a genre much loved by the great thinking minds of the world. I believe it was Socrates who first said "How did that miss? I was totally striking you from behind!". This year thus far has seen an all time low of entries for the genre. Rainbow Moon enters the scene with the goal of capturing the essence of strategy games past.
The Plot: Going over the Rainbow... Moon.
The narrative is a simple one; your hero finds himself lost in a strange new world known as "Rainbow Moon", and everything you accomplish is completed with the intention of returning to your world and confronting the man who sent you there in the first place. In comparison to the theatre-quality tales woven in the classics of the genre, this is a big step back. There are no character arcs or Shyamalan twists in the plot, you need to be your own driving force for progressing in the game.
Combat: The meat and potatoes of Rainbow Moon.
Combat is largely the focus of this title, consisting of the usual strategy game affair of taking turns with enemies performing actions until one side remains victorious. Rainbow Moon removes a lot of the complex micromanagement and number crunching associated with strategy games by opting out of having skill trees, job classes or a large variety of equipment. In place there's a very basic equipment and skill system with infrequent upgrades coming along to use and learn. By stripping these layers players are left with a combat system carrying it's own quirks and systems to become intimately familiar with.
Combat Caveat: this meal has some fat to cut through.
With a game focused on simple out-of-combat mechanics there isn't a lot of wiggle room when it comes to the tough fights. You can't "gear up" to exploit a boss' weakness, and for the early hours of the game there isn't much strategy outside of directly attacking. If you do happen to hit a wall in your progress it rarely has anything to do with your strategy, rather that it means you aren't strong enough, and need to earn more Rainbow Pearls through battle to upgrade your characters. This cause and effect brings to light one of Rainbow Moon's greatest flaws. The game is incredibly grind focused. Every new area is filled with significantly tougher enemies that can't be handled without some preemptive grinding, the game tends to burn itself out as the cycle repeats, and the combat system doesn't receive significant mechanic updates to keep it fresh.
Epilogue: We're far from the one in Rainbow Moon, that's for sure.
Originally retailing at fifteen dollars, it's a modest proposition for what you're getting, so long as you're willing to accept it's flaws. Rainbow moon offers a competent game with a ridiculous amount of content - my campaign clocking in at over thirty hours with no end yet in sight. The time investment it calls for is best enjoyed over a long period, like a fine wine, rather than trying to burn through it quickly like a shot of liquor. Rainbow Moon offers nothing original or revolutionary to the strategy genre, but at it's core it proves to be a simple, enjoyable game emphasized on strategic combat.