Some of you might remember last year when I looked at a little PSN RPG by the name of Rainbow Moon, an old school styled SRPG/turn-based RPG hybrid that didn’t quite shine in my eyes. I was pretty harsh on it in my review but I did make the point that the game seemed like it would be better suited to being on a portable platform rather than being a sit-down console experience. Well a year and a half later the VITA version is finally out and it seems that prediction of it working well on such a device held true. Not only is the game’s pace much better suited to the portable context but by making that element work my outlook on the game as a whole has softened. Rainbow Moon is still far from perfect but I can better see now what they were going for and as a pick up and play popcorn game it makes a lot more sense.
If you haven’t checked out my original review of Rainbow Moon, go ahead and read it now, pretty much all the complaints I make there still hold true with this VITA port; the story and presentation is rather bland and generic, combat can be pretty top-heavy thanks to an overload of enemies and awkward movement, and the pace is still pretty damn slow. That said though, almost all those problems stop being major issues when you switch up the context of how you’re playing the game. If you’re playing it on a big ass TV while sitting on the couch and dealing with the fact that you decided this was the game that would take up your whole weekend, it’s insufferable. However switch out your couch for your toilet, the TV for your VITA, and your precious free gaming moments with just passing time on the crapper-this is not a classy website-and it quickly becomes a much more enjoyable experience. It’s like a bag of bland but consistent junk food you pop open whenever you have a free moment and are feeling a mite peckish, you’d balk if someone fed you Cheetos as an entrée but as a light snack it totally works. In fact most of the game’s flaws only help it in this new scenario. You need never worry about losing track of the story or the world after not playing for a while because the story doesn’t matter and all the assets look the same providing a consistent experience both 5 minutes and 5 days between play sessions. The combat can be as slow and overloaded with extra enemies as it wants because you can just turn it off mid fight and come back to the 30 dude melee later on when you feel like tackling it. Most importantly though is the fact that since you’re in a “just killing time” mindset you’ll actually read all the prompts the games throws at you despite the slow pace which will get you playing better and enjoying the experience more overall.
I’ve never been one to change the scores on my reviews and the 2 out of 5 I gave the console version of Rainbow Moon still stands. I will certainly admit to being a little harsh on the game but as I said in that original review, despite the tedium Rainbow Moon does contain a competent RPG that features some occasional interesting elements. Don’t expect gripping adventure, fantastic sights, or deeply engaging gameplay out of this title; instead what it provides is a nice comfortable groove to sink into when you have nothing better to do and that’s not a bad thing. Different kinds of games work best in different kinds of situations and this one has found its rhythm in the easy-going handheld space. It’s not particularly deep and there are certainly better and more interesting RPGs on the VITA but as a $15 way to make a bus ride go by that much faster it works surprisingly well.