A shopkeeper by day, a monster slayer by night – I really like the sound of that. It kind of seems like the perfect amalgamation between Recettear and Monster Hunter, and it just so happens to best describe Digital Sun Games’ Moonlighter.
You’ve probably already heard about the game though, with it receiving a smashing 95% approval rate for its Square Enix Collective project prior to landing on Kickstarter. This is without a surprise, too, judging by the game’s visibly heavy inspirations from colossi such as The Legend of Zelda and The Binding of Isaac. Part action RPG, part shop management extravaganza, Moonlighter’s main driving force can safely be narrowed down to two very important elements – gold and loot.
Coincidentally, both are exclusive to the game’s pair of exclusively separate main activities. Want to sell stuff in your shop? You better get out there and kill some monsters, as each specimen resides in culturally different worlds with unique loot. Want to acquire better gear? Make sure you upgrade that sweet loot you got with all that gold you have lying around from selling those dungeon-crawling goodies. As you can see, it’s a constantly repeating cycle.
I must that admit the shopkeeping part appeals to me the most, perhaps due to how idyllic Rynoka (the game’s main town) looks. Plus, you get to take advantage of customers and their moods, and there are very few things better than getting the opportunity to role-play as a bad-ass version of Rupin from Skyward Sword.
Judging by the gameplay footage at display, combat does look a bit “stiff” and sluggish for the time being. It’s hard to tell without playing though, as apparently there’s lots of upgrading and gear hording, in addition a Souls-esque system involving different weapons with unique move-sets. In fact, Moonlighter throws a whole lot of information in regards to how its systems work, which certainly gives me hope as to how far into the project its developers are.
I guess Moonlighter is just one of those games that immediately grabs you with its aesthetics and mechanics. Charming retro-inspired graphics, cheerful NPC interactions and hardcore dungeon crawling – on paper, it’s a winning formula. What remains is for us to see whether combat and shopkeeping would go hand in hand, without one ending up overshadowing the other.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention – half of the Kickstarter’s goal of $40,000 was met in just one day.