What is Moonlighter?
Master of Dungeons and Commerce
I know how you are feeling right now. You are tired of being the adventurer that brings peace to a fantasy land. Meanwhile, the store clerks are getting all that sweet, sweet coin front you. What if I told you that there was a way you could be both an adventurer and a shop keeper, in a game called Moonlighter. Follow the story of Will who was forced to take over the family business, but also dreams of being an adventurer. Moonlighter was a delightful game, and the team behind the game was kind enough to give me a demo code. Right now Moonlighter is playable on every platform from PC to consoles. It is on sale at Humble Bundle, and I highly recommend you jump on that. I don’t know what I was expecting from this game at first, but I did not think I would enjoy it this much. I easily played into the double digits in the past two days, and I still have so much more to do.
Moonlighter is described as being Rogue-lite. Which means that you will be dungeon crawling and the dungeons will be ever changing. The first Rogue-lite game I played was Tangledeep, and I was perplexed, but now I have grown to love it. No matter how many times you play, the dungeons will have endless variations. It spices up the typical dungeon crawler and gives it a lot more depth.
Combat in Moonlighter is pretty fun and dynamic. The game is pixelated, and you can only attack in four different directions, but there are some twists. In Moonlighter you can hide behind rocks and attack at a distance. There are five different weapon types, and you can have two separate equipped at a time. The first one you start with is a Spear, a broom spear, You can keep people at range with you simple attack and poke them to death, or you can use your unique ability and charge at them. The spear is my favorite weapon in Moonlighter. The second weapon you receive from an old friend Vernon who states “It’s dangerous to go alone take this,” and gives you the legendary master sw- wrong game. Vernon gives you a training sword and shield. The Sword and Shield combo allow you to slash at your targets and your unique ability is to block incoming damage with your shield. The Broadsword is a giant two-handed sword that has a slow swing but does a lot of damage. The Broadsword’s unique ability is to swing 360 degrees. It takes a while to charge up the broadsword’s unique, but once you get it going, it is excellent when you get overwhelmed. The Gloves in moonlighter are like metal claws, you swipe at your opponents with each arm, they are the fastest weapons, but leave you the most vulnerable. The special attack for the Gloves is a short charge/dash and only hits once. The final weapon is the Bow which has great range and shoots like a standard bow. The special attack for the Bow pierces through all enemies it touches and only stops when it hits the walls of the room.
Commerce plays an essential role in Moonlighter, and if you are like me, it will consume you. Selling is difficult at first, but once you get your prices down, it is pretty straightforward. Running your shop is the only way to make gold and gold plays a significant role in Moonlighter. You will very rarely find weapons and armor in dungeons, and you will never find any gold, so you need to make it all. To craft weapons and armor, you will need a set amount of gold and a certain amount of materials. Luckily you can wishlist your items so they are easier to find, but it’s still quite a grind. You set your prices, upgrade your shop, stop thieves, and crawl dungeons at night, pretty simple.
Dungeons after commerce dungeon play a significant role in Moonlighter. It is the only way to progress the story and the only way to gather materials. Every dungeon has three levels, and you will find out more about them as you play, don’t want to ruin the game for you. Each level gets more difficult as you progress. There are a total of five dungeons in Moonlighter, and you can only progress to the next dungeon by clearing all three levels of the previous dungeon. You can escape dungeons with a
“pendant” that has a gold toll every time you use it, and it resets your dungeon progress. There is also an item you unlock down the road that will save your dungeon progress, but it costs far more than the pendant. Each dungeon has a bevy of monsters and items, so you will always have your hands full.
Moonlighter has a pretty amazing story. I will try not to explain it too much. You are from a small town, and you’ve never left that town. Will the main character inherited his shop but dreams of adventuring. By day will is a shop keeper, but by night he is an adventurer ransacking dungeons with reckless abandon. What drives will is finding out what is behind the door of dungeon number five and he will stop at nothing to get there. He honor’s his families tradition by running the greatest shop in town, but he honors his dream by going through dungeons. Will has a mentor/guardian that looks after him from time to time. Vernon the same guy that gave you the sword and shield is a family friend of Will’s and discourages his adventuring. You will learn much more about Will and Vernon once you play Moonlighter.
Like I said above the game is pretty much pixelated. What I wasn’t expecting from the animations was how fluid they are. Typically pixel and indie games are pretty static and rigid. Moonlighter is nothing like that. The animations flow and feel smooth and fluid. I would describe the graphics like waves on the ocean. Beautiful to look at and the rhythm is all there. The way the dungeon portals open up always mesmerizes me. The music and sounds are just perfect enough to make you aware, but not overwhelm you. I can still hear the string instruments playing in my head after I get off the game.
Hands down the best Rogue-lite game I have played, and probably ever will play. This game makes grinding fun with the store aspect. I like that I can sell my items in my store. It makes me feel like there is way more to the game than just merely killing creatures and following the story. Moonlighter is a game you need to play. It is the first game that we have solidified in our top 10 which will be out by the end of the month. Moonlighter is as relaxing as it is fun. It is nice to get away from the chaos of multiplayer games and just unwind with a game like Moonlighter. I have procrastinated on a lot of other things because of this game, and I’m not mad about it. This game is just hours and hours of fun. I like running my video game store, and I love fighting monsters. The weapon and armor customization are impressive as well. Truly a 10/10 game. I can’t emphasize the greatness of this game. Check it out on whatever system you have. The base price for Moonlighter is $19.99, and I can assure you, you will not be disappointed. Follow the dev team on twitter @11bitstudios and check the game out on Humble Bundle or Steam down below. Take the mantle of shop keeper and adventurer in Moonlighter today!