Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Moonlighter (15-hour impressions)

I've been playing this quite a lot lately, so let's discuss.

Moonlighter is a mash-up of Stardew Valley and Recettear, to put it simply. You live in a Stardew Valley-type village (though less fleshed out), you have an item shop as in Recettear, and you stock that shop by going out at night and fighting your way through dungeons.

Hence, "Moonlighter."

Pixel graphics. Charming (very charming, actually). Lovely music.

With all games of this type, there's a grind, and if you like the game, you find the grind compelling. I do, very much.

Combat feels very clunky at first (tip: upgrade your weapons and armor ASAP), but smooths out once you start to feel out enemy patterns (I feel like Bruce Lee at times now). Stocking the item shop and selling items is incredibly satisfying and very low-stress (unless Recettear, where I felt like I was always trying to make enough money to make a loan payment).

When you place an item in the shop, you set a price, and you'll see customers react to the price you've set. The process of setting the "right" price is very drip-drip-drip enticing, and the entire shopkeeping experience is excellent.

The dungeons are quite interesting, too. Like I mentioned, combat is clunky and unintuitive at first, but when it clicks in, it gets really good really fast.

Starting advice. You can go to the blacksmith's shop (once you bring one to town), find an equipment upgrade you want, and select it. Then, any item needed for that upgrade will show up as starred in your inventory. The game has lots of little quality-of-life touches like this, and they make the game more pleasant to play.

Work at the shop during the day, raid dungeons by night. It's all terrifically fun, and I only wish I could play more often than I do.

Here's a Steam link: Moonlighter.

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