Moonlighter is an action RPG, under development by Digital Sun Games, where you play as a shopkeeper who decides to follow his dreams and go moonlighting as an adventurer. Using his shop as a means to pursue his dreams, he has to make sure that he doesn’t neglect one or the other. Otherwise he will have a much more difficult time progressing, since both are very important. Inspiration for the game has come from many different sources, including Rogue Legacy, The Binding of Isaac, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Studio Ghibli, and Recettear.
You start off Moonlighter with a hundred gold, some cheap equipment, and a shop. When you decide to moonlight as an adventurer, you can’t just abandon your shop. So you decide to go exploring in the nearby series of dungeons to gain loot you can sell at your shop. Each of these dungeons is from a different culture, and reflects their individual art and style. Some people may wonder why they’d need to keep the shop open, but in Moonlighter there isn’t an experience based leveling system. Instead of leveling up to improve, you simply use better equipment. Of course the only way to get this better equipment is with gold, and the only way to get gold is to sell things in your shop. So, you have to not only fight enemies, but also figure out how best to spend your gold. Should you upgrade the shop, enchant your armor, buy a new weapon, etc.
There are two main aspects of Moonlighter, exploring the dungeons and running the shop. Running the shop works as a kind of mini-game. Customers will show up and react differently to what you have. Some may buy an item they want even if it is not a great price, while others will only bother if there is a fantastic deal. Of course, like any shop keeper there will also be some people who try to grab your wares without paying for them first. Every now and then a customer will ask you for a specific item, and if you can deliver it soon enough they may reward you with a tidy sum. Selling good equipment is items, but the best way to make your shop successful is to upgrade the shop itself. A bigger, fancier shop will let you sell more items, and bring it a better class of clientele.
The other big part of Moonlighter, exploring the dungeons, is interesting, but very different from running the shop. There are several different weapon classes that you can use, and each plays different from the other. Along with weapons there are magical scrolls that offer unique abilities like dash, AoE attacks, and more. Of course, what is a hero without their armor? In Moonlighter, armor sets are hard to come by and will take a lot of effort to find and create, but they will be very worth it. Throughout the dungeons are monsters that are trying, not to kill you, but to simply kick you out. There isn’t actually any death within the dungeons. When you fail you just lose a bunch of your items, and are kicked from the dungeon. Of course, at the end of each of these dungeons is a boss that you need to defeat for the really good loot from that culture.
Moonlighter is an odd mix of adventure with shop management. Currently it is on Kickstarter seeking funding, and there are still plenty of discounted early bird rewards available. When the game is finished it will first be released on PC, Mac, and Linux, and then released as a digital download on Xbox One and PS4. So, do you think Moonlighter sounds like a fun game? Let me know in the comments below.
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Written by Spencer Havens