Some of you may have already heard of Rainbow Moon – the lovely indie strategy RPG has been available for download on PlayStation 3 since July, wowing players with its unique style, depth and clever gameplay mechanics.
Well, good news. Since the PS3 release, developer SideQuest Studios has been hard at work on a version of the title for the PlayStation Vita, due out some time next year. Duly, we recently sat down with studio chief Marcus Pukropski to find out more about the game and the forthcoming handheld release.
For the benefit of anyone who didn’t pick the game up on PlayStation 3, can you give us a brief introduction to what Rainbow Moon is all about?
Marcus Pukropski: Rainbow Moon is an RPG combining a tactical combat system with a vast world that players can explore with towns, villages and dungeons where they will meet numerous citizens and around a hundred different types of monsters. It has a strategic, turn-based combat system, and players can buy a vast range of skills, armour items and weapons at various shops to level up and become even stronger to confront the most powerful enemies.
The world is full of secrets, subtlety and interesting details for players to discover. We have also added a complex equipment upgrade system and a range of optional side-quests.
You go into surprising depth about the game’s controls on your website! Why did you feel the need to do that? Is it a tough game to master?
Marcus Pukropski: Although it’s very easy to learn, Rainbow Moon is more complex than might appear at first glance. The screenshots give you an idea of the look of the game, but you can’t really tell what the gameplay is like. Many players want to know exactly what to expect and if the game is worth buying! So we wanted to explain very clearly what Rainbow Moon has to offer to try and excite the player’s interest.
The Wheel of Luck Lottery mini-game in particular has proved really popular since launch. Tell us more about that.
Marcus Pukropski: The lottery is an optional mini-game. You can play once a day – game time, not real time – to win valuable and sometimes unique prizes. There are a range of win categories with different prizes also depending on the player’s bet. You can only play with low stakes initially, but can unlock better options as you progress through the game. Towards the end you can even win some of the ultimate weapons.
Overall, it’s almost always worth playing a game, even the consolation prizes are generally very useful and at this stage often won’t be available to buy in the shops.
Visually, the game is a surprising mix of Western and Japanese influences. How did you decide upon that aesthetic?
Marcus Pukropski: We’ve played a number of JRPGs, from Final Fantasy, to Dragon Quest, to Disgaea, and other such titles, but were also inspired by Western classics like Bards Tale and Dungeon Master.
But Rainbow Moon is a game on its own; we felt there were enough clone games already. Sure, you’ll spot influences from some of the above titles, but we’re a German studio with our own style and concepts. Ultimately, we have the mix we feel is right, and the feedback so far confirms we’re pretty much on track.
Have you enjoyed developing for the PS Vita?
Marcus Pukropski: Well, we haven’t finished yet! To be honest, I thought it would be easier, because lots of people said the hardware was very similar. But in the end there were so many differences in the operating system that we practically had to re-write most of the engine. And that of course takes more time.