Ganja Game Review: Moonlighter
There’s no doubt that we’re living in stressful times – and more than ever, people are looking for ways to escape. Maybe you are trying to find a way to relax and shut out any thoughts regarding your real-life responsibilities. Maybe you want an escape from the stress of adulting. Or maybe you are just looking to escape from boredom. Either way, I’ve personally found no better way to truly experience a break from my real life than setting aside an afternoon for melting my brain and playing some games. This last week, I was able to grab a title that I fell in love with from the Epic Games store, Moonlighter, as well as some great dabs from Emerald City Cultivation and Sky High Gardens.
Moonlighter is a rogue-like dungeon crawler smashed together with a shop simulator and all around a really pretty game to look at. You play as Will, the new owner of the Moonlighter, a shop In the now mostly abandoned town of Rynoka. Your goal is revitalize Rynoka back to it’s days as a bustling merchant town that provided much needed supplies and weapons to the heroes who braved the dungeons. You’ll spend your days running shop, selling supplies to the local townsfolk and heroes, and use the money to upgrade your town, armor, and store. At night you’ll explore the dungeons yourself, collecting items from monsters to be sold at your shop, or used for crafting.
During your shop hours, you’ll attempt to maximize profit by gauging people’s reactions to prices, handle delivery orders, watch for thieves, and keep the shelves stocked. At first, it’s not too much to pay attention to, but as the game went on and the Pineapple Chunk dabs from set in, I found I wasn’t reacting quick enough and needed something to keep me more focused. I decided to switch to the more cerebral Cinex from ECC and started to get my shop back in order. More items sold made for some decent sized returns. Afterwards, I used that to make some more weapons and armor, and get my town a potions merchant.
With my new armor and a bag full of potions, I was able to get further in the dungeons and find even better items to sell. The dungeons play very close to Binding of Isaac, with procedural created rooms with random enemies ending ultimately in a boss fight to move to the next stage. The combat is slower, and requires focus and good reaction time. It’s simple at first, only being two attacks and a roll. But as the enemies and type of attacks change, so will your ways of fighting and reacting. Dying at any point during the dungeon will result in the loss of all but five items you’ve collected.
Overall, it’s not the same level of chill all the way out that it appears to be on its face. It looks like Stardew Valley, but plays much more frantically – and the combat can be punishing at times. I would recommend sticking to a solid sativa like a Green Queen or The Jack to stay on top of things. There’s a really decent amount of depth and systems for the player to be focused on. It would be nice to see a more social aspect to make the town feel more “alive.” The crafting, item progression, and town upgrades give the player plenty to do, but I think that ultimately it will be a great game to jump into for a little escape now and again.
Written by: Jason Ardelean
Discover a Higher Quality of Life.