They say to make a great piece of entertainment, take an existing successful formula and change one crucial aspect. It worked with the Harry Potter franchise – the hero’s journey but in a fantastical, magical world. Lord of the Rings, every Marvel movie, they all do it. We like an experience that’s both familiar and new. Digital Sun Games’ Moonlighter follows this formula. It’s a dungeon-crawling roguelike with tough combat, randomly generated areas, and a ton of loot. Instead of throwing that loot at a merchant, you’ll set up shop and sell it yourself.
Learning The Tricks of the Trade
That’s right, Moonlighter not only has you fighting to gather materials but you will also be on the business end of profiting from them. This involves you scoping out prices and catering to customers. Set a price too high and they’ll spit in your face. Set it too low and you’ll miss out on some hard-earned cash. Moonlighter stores these items and their prices in a journal for review. Once you confirm prices, they set automatically on repeat items. The shop is upgradable, and eventually, you’ll have assistants, decorations, and a larger storefront. What would be a fun distraction in a lesser game, Moonlighter makes into a full-fledged feature, and it’s better for it.
Not to mention the rest of the game is excellent. Moonlighter is still in an alpha state, but it already has a wide variety of tough enemies and weapon classes. I haven’t gotten to the first boss yet, but the enemies I’ve fought so far have me dreading that eventual meeting. Each dungeon randomly generates. Chests and secrets are scarce but contain valuable materials. It’s hard deciding whether to keep them for crafting or sell them for profit. When you die (and you will die), you lose everything except for five items in specific inventory slots. You think it’s Moonlighter giving you a break, but good luck picking which items to save when your entire inventory is valuable. You can also bail out early with a Diablo-esque town portal.
The town of Rynoka houses multiple NPC’s for your benefit. A witch for enchanting items and restoring health potions, a blacksmith for weapon upgrades, and a trader for those materials you need in a rush – for a high fee. As time goes on, more come offering quests and new items.
Moonlighter is a fresh take on the roguelike formula, and one of my highlights of E3 this year. I look forward to seeing what else Digital Sun has in mind for the future. It’s coming later this year on PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, and PS4.
What do you think of Moonlighter? Plan on picking it up? Let us know in the comments down below!