Published on July 13th, 2020 | by John Werner
Moonlighter: Between Dimensions DLC Xbox One Review
Summary: What could be more fun than running your own shop? How about exploring dungeons full of monsters to stock your shelves?
What could be more fun than running your own shop? How about exploring dungeons full of monsters to stock your shelves? As the owner of the Moonlighter general store, it is your job to do exactly that in this exciting and addictive top down dungeon crawling RPG from indie developer Digital Sun. Players will have endless hours of fun exploring this unique story-driven world as they discover the secrets behind the dungeons and the mysterious fifth door.
During an archeological dig, a set of five mysterious doors were discovered, buried by the sands of time. Upon exploration, it was made apparent that these doors where actually portals to different realms and dimensions, each with their own unique treasures and monsters. Of the five gates, only four were accessible, with the fifth gate locked by four keys. Word of this discovery quickly spread as adventurers and merchants from all over the world came forth seeking to achieve fame, glory and profit. Soon, the village of Rynoka was born, as various merchants set up stores selling artifacts found within the dungeons and offering refuge for the adventurers looking to enter the dungeons. One such shop to open its doors was The Moonlighter, a general store selling anything and everything, all for a fair price. However, as time passed, some of the dungeons were deemed too dangerous and were sealed up to prevent people getting seriously hurt by the creatures dwelling within. In time, fewer people came to Rynoka and many merchants closed their doors, leaving only The Moonlighter standing. Now Will, the grandson of The Moonlighters first owner, has taken over the store and it is up to him to bring the store and Rynoka back to its former glory. Equipped with his trusty broom, Will must venture deep into the dungeons to find artifacts to sell in his shop, while saving enough money for renovations and better equipment.
As far as dungeon crawlers go, “Moonlighter” has been one of the most unique and addictive games I’ve played in quite some time. The top down pixel art style brings about a sense of nostalgia from when I was younger, playing games like “Pokémon”, “Animal Crossing” and even “The Legend of Zelda”. A time when managing resources and inventory was vital for completing challenging levels such as dungeons full of monsters and boss fights. “Moonlighter” is quite similar in the fact that players only have limited space for inventory management and must often choose not only what items to bring into the dungeon, but what treasures to bring back to town. Whilst exploring the dungeons, players will discover over a hundred unique items that can be sold at the Moonlighter shop for a price of their choosing. The catch 22 is that the value of each item is unknown to the player until it has been inspected by a customer and a reaction given, indicating if the price assigned is too high, just right, or an absolute bargain. These reactions are recorded in Will’s diary, which can be accessed at any point to help determine what items are going to sell for the best price. Sounds simple enough, right? Enter the dungeon, fight monsters, collect loot, sell loot. In short, yes, but when is anything really that simple?
“Moonlighter’s” gameplay broken into two main parts: daytime and night time, each with particular tasks that can only be completed during these times. Like a normal town, shops in Rynoka only open during daylight hours, with the exception of buying potions and forging items. Players can only open the Moonlighter during the day and have a limited amount of time until the sun sets and the shop must close. Opening the shop during the day is optional but is the only solid source of making money to buy building upgrades, investing in other shops, and buying equipment. Whilst the shop is open, Will must man the till, restock the shelves, stop thieves, and adjust prices accordingly. Later in the game, once the player has purchased upgrades for the building, players can then take on requests for specific items and employ an assistant to run the shop. This gives Will more time to explore the dungeons and visit the other shops around town. Once the sun sets, Will can either get some rest or return to the dungeons. One advantage of exploring the dungeons at night is that better items have a higher chance of been found, making for a bigger profit, or crafting better equipment. Additionally, potions are much cheaper during the night, adding more emphasis for players to explore at night.
On its own, “Moonlighter” is already quite a fun and lengthy game. However, with the addition of the Between Dimensions DLC, gameplay is easily doubled in length. Further developing the story and continuing the events at the end of the main campaign, a new portal leading to a space between dimensions becomes available for Will to explore. Within this dungeon, players will encounter monsters and loot from all previous dungeons, plus new ones exclusive to this space between realities. Unlike other dungeons that only had three randomly generated levels each to explore, the portal is nine straight floors with tough mini boss fights every few levels. Thankfully, new and more powerful equipment is available for crafting using items found from all of the dungeons. Finding these items can be a bit tricky but thanks to new shops opening up in town, some items will be able to be bought or traded to help speed up the crafting process.
“Moonlighter: Between Dimensions” is a brilliant RPG adventure game for anyone is looking for a something casual but with challenging elements such as basic inventory and time management. The top-down combat is heaps of fun and perfect for newcomers or those who want a taste of old-school nostalgia. Combined with the pixel style graphics and 8bit inspired tunes, “Moonlighter: Between Dimensions” has something for everyone. I am particularly fond of how simple but clever the story is, as it can only be described as the glue that holds the dungeon crawling and shop management elements together, allowing players to immerse themselves further in this game. I highly recommend this game for anyone who is looking for a fun indie game with endless hours of enjoyment with a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.