Hurry up and Buy!
My time with Moonlighter has left me with two thoughts:
1.) This isn’t a game for everyone.
2.) It’s an enjoyable but repetitive experience.
Being a shopkeeper is honestly, really enjoyable. It’s the least stressful part of the game and you can really rip off your customers. 300 gold for a leaf?! It’s what they get for window shopping in my store.
Players will acquire their goods to be sold by dungeon crawling, looting chests, and defeating enemies and bosses. A small catch being that if you are killed you will be immediately sent back to the hometown and then you’ll lose all of that loot. Managing your inventory is important and is honestly interesting because when a chest is opened, items inside may come with conditions on how they should be placed. Some will instantaneously teleport an item to your shop, others will destroy an item once you leave, and some will actually remove the curse. You have 20 slots and these fill up rather quickly. I can generally make it through a floor before my inventory is maxed. Although in my case I might just be a hoarder.
There are 5 dungeons in all and each unlock after you defeat the boss. Each dungeon is procedurally generated and if you leave you will have to start over again. However, there is an ability to set up a gate that will bring you back to town and once you return you will start where you stopped. This however costs gold and does increase in cost as you progress through the dungeon. I have only used it before fighting a boss and that was primarily to re-stock on potions. Players are also able to use their talisman to just return to town, this also comes at a cost, but it is helpful if you find yourself wandering into a boss fight unprepared. This happened to me twice as I was not familiar with the game mechanics, but let’s be real, it was a pretty noob-ish move.
Combat is fairly simple, depending on the weapon you have a standard strike and then a charge/block ability. Players can roll and this is incredibly helpful seeing how enemies, regardless of their strength, will do a ton of damage. Each enemy has a pattern though but there will be times where you will fight groups with multiple patterns and this can be pretty challenging seeing how your attack is fairly slow. In my time with the game, I have been rolling, striking, and then healing. Except for one boss fight where I went all in and somehow came out alive. You are allotted 5 potions and believe me when I say that they deplete quickly if you aren’t careful.
One of the most interesting mechanics in the game is the world-building, its not in-depth, but you can upgrade the town you’re in as well as your shop. Doing so, will grant quests, new weapons, armor, enchantments, and potions. To obtain weapons and armor, you must have both gold and material to craft. There is a small chance that you will come across a weapon or a piece of armor while dungeon crawling, but the drops are random and if you want to get through the game quickly without grinding so much, you might as well craft. So, when you’re selling the products you worked so hard to obtain, it may be smart not to sell in bundles as you may want to upgrade your weapon or armor to help you along your journey.
When it comes to selling, its pretty simple, you set the price and then watch the reactions of the townspeople. Some will indicate that they’re looking for weapons and armor, but for the most part, the townspeople will wander in and purchase whatever goods you’re selling. If someone is displeased, then you can work quickly to adjust the price. If you’re too lenient, then you’re going to get ripped off. Personally, I just put it as high as possible and went down in increments of 200 depending on the item. Books fetch a high price as well as rare loot, make sure that you sell high on those to start, otherwise you’re losing out on profit. It’s weird to say about a dungeon crawler, but this is the best part of the game…because money.
Now, Moonlighter isn’t for everyone. It isn’t for those who hate inventory management or dungeon crawlers. I imagine that this is a game that some people will look to actively avoid. It can be a bit repetitive and there are certain enemy types with attacks that feel cheap. Looking at the blobs that engulf you and then restrict your movement, those are real pains in the asses, especially in tight situations. This isn’t a game for those who dislike the rogue genre, even though those elements are rather light and Moonlighter doesn’t punish you to harshly for failing.
But, those that do happen to pick up this indie title may be pleasantly surprised. For 20 dollars, there seems to be a lot of meat to this game. I am currently on my third dungeon, but there is a lot to do with regards to upgrading my town and my shop. Visually, this is a really good looking game with some excellent animations and effects. The music is also really good and captures the locations perfectly. Even through the repetitiveness, I’ve enjoyed my experience thus far, in fact, I didn’t notice that I had played for almost 4 hours straight because I was working to hustle the townspeople.
Cash rules everything around me.