Moonlighter is one of those games that you just can’t stop playing. After every dungeon dive, every day at the store, you keep wanting more and more. While playing, you keep thinking to yourself, “One more dungeon run and then I’m done. One more floor and then I’ll leave. One more day of selling and I’ll get off.” The thing is, you know it’s a lie to yourself and you don’t even care. Moonlighter pulls you into the game, and it is too good to put down.
The Mashup You Never Knew You Needed
This game is a combination of a Roguelike RPG Dungeon Crawler mixed with the business side of a Sims game. Rather than sell your loot to the merchant in town, you are the merchant in town. Instead of being ripped off, you can sell the loot you find in the dungeons in your own shop.
Exploring the dungeons feels great; the fluidity of movement fits perfectly well with the pace of the enemies. You never are too slow to deal with the mobs you face. The dungeons challenge you, but you are never overwhelmed. The variety of levels and enemies is vast. It takes some time to figure out how to deal with certain mobs, but once you get the hang of it, it is incredibly rewarding. Along with different enemies, the dungeon layouts change every time you take a dive in. No two dungeons are the same.
You are given the chance to escape the dungeon at any time using a pendant. When your backpack is full, it may be a good idea to leave, sell your loot, and come back another day. The game gives you an out, but if you don’t use it, you will be punished. Dying makes you lose all of your loot except for five items. It is soul crushing when you see all of your swag get lost in an instant.
The variety of weapons lets you play how you want. Going the route of the spear gives you some distance between you and the enemy, at the cost of damage. On the flip side, if you choose gloves, you do the highest damage, but you’re right next to your opponent and exposed. Luckily you have two weapon slots, so you can do both!
This Game Makes Retail Work Exciting
When it comes to using your loot in the outside world, selling items in your shop can bring in some serious cash flow if you know which items to keep and which items to leave behind. Setting the prices in your shops is trial and error. You are given a range that the items cost (ex. 60-500 gold) and you have to find the sweet spot price for that item. Otherwise, nobody will want to buy an overpriced item. On the flip side, they’ll jump at the chance when you underprice one.
As you go through the game, you can buy upgrades for your shop as well as your town. Bringing in different stores helps you progress through the game. A Blacksmith will help you upgrade weapons, a Hawker will make your store more enticing etc.
Moonlighter has a fantastic design. The dungeons, enemies and even the town are all well made. The soundtrack is catered to each level of each dungeon, and even the town melody is adjusted depending on which merchant you are speaking with. The detail involved from the faces in the wall to the squishing of tiny creatures in the room all make Moonlighter’s atmosphere perfect.
Back to the Daily Grind
While this game is a great adventure, it can become a bit of a grind. Working to get the loot to create the next level of weapons feels repetitive at times. Even working the store can be a bit of a bore after the 10th day in a row of manning the shop. Thankfully, an upgrade comes in that lets the items be sold through an assistant for a percentage of the profits.
Aside from the grind aspect that comes only after extended play sessions, Moonlighter is the perfect Roguelike RPG. From the combat to the crafting, the dungeon design to the store management, this game will have you hooked the second you begin your adventure.