I would be underplaying it if I said I was looking forward to this game coming to Nintendo Switch.
I wasn’t just looking forward to it.
I needed it.
Moonlighter is Digital Sun Games’ first title and there is nothing else quite like it.
I’ve always enjoyed simulator games, such as Harvest Moon, Rune Factory, and the ever popular Stardew Valley.
However, Moonlighter takes the simulation mechanics and boils them down to their core elements to make it meld perfectly with the dungeon-looting action adventure genre.
You take on the roll of Will, the young shopkeep who runs Moonlighter by day, but dreams of being a Hero by night.
And it is those two elements that make Moonlighter such a captivating game.
During the daytime you’ll be running your store; selling the items you find and craft, with the help of some other local businesses, to the townspeople so you can make a profit that will allow you to armor yourself up and further progress through the Dungeon during the nights.
It is up to you to set prices for your wares, and you can’t just raise and lower prices as you see fit because your customers will be more than happy to let you know if they’re offended by you trying to gouge them.
There is a sweet spot when it comes to price that the game will track to allow you to make smart business decisions, and items will change in popularity based on if you’re flooding the market or holding back too much.
With that information you can figure out exactly when and how you should be selling your wares.
You’ll have to carefully manage the market as you try to hawk your merchandise to the local townspeople and keep thieves from snatching up your treasures.
But your shop has limited product, based solely on your ability to successfully traverse the Dungeons and bring back what you find.
At night you will spend your time navigate one of the five Dungeons, slaying monsters and looting treasure chests to gather more materials and items to sell and craft with during the day.
The Dungeons have a rogue-like mechanic to them, making them change each time you enter, so you’ll never know exactly what to expect.
Sometimes the Dungeon may prove to be a little too difficult for you, and you may be knocked out.
If so, you’ll drop all of the items you were carrying in your backpack, but you will be able to keep the items you carried on your person.
Items you pick up may have a curse applied to them, which will require you to sort your items in your backpack a certain way which creates a rather unique inventory management system.
You do have the option to spend some of your hard-earned gold to teleport out of the Dungeon with everything you’ve got, but the temptation to keep going and find that extra rare material or gather more of that item in high-demand may prove too strong of a pull.
This simple gameplay loop is what makes Moonlighter such an addictive experience.
Every step further into the Dungeon means more valuable treasures to sell, but you risk being knocked out and losing everything.
Meanwhile, your shop may be incredibly successful, but due to a lack of foresight, overspending, and not making the most of your dungeon adventures, you’re now strapped for cash with nothing but materials that are in low demand.
It’s the careful management of these two gameplay systems that really make Moonlighter like nothing you’ve ever played.
As for a full review, you can expect that later in the month.
For now, I have to get back to work running my shop and adventuring deeper in the Dungeons.
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