Andre Calvert’s Biggest Disappointment of 2018: Moonlighter (PC)
It pains me to put an indie game as my biggest disappointment of 2018, but unfortunately Moonlighter did not turn out to be the enjoyable game I was expecting it to be. The dungeon-crawling, weapon finding, and weapon shop genre is very thin, but mildly increasing genre and Moonlighter was a game that I thought would top the genre. The original trailer had me hyped, with the soundtrack and graphics being significant factors for that. Those factors delivered, but for me, the gameplay loop and combat fell a bit short on being a fun thing to do. The dungeon-crawling experience made me feel rushed with a monster always stalking me in conjunction with very unforgiving controls that often caused headaches.
The game also takes inventory management to a whole new level during combat in dungeons, where you can’t place items in certain places depending on properties and arrows of other items in your inventory. If not for the timed monster that chases you to kill you, this mechanic wouldn’t be quite as annoying to use while dungeon-crawling. The weapon shop element of the game also was very tedious, as you needed to sift through many menus to setup your shop each time, in addition to very manual shopkeeper mechanics, and having to chase down thieves in your store. The shopkeeper/cashier mechanic, while realistic, sometimes (like we saw in Red Dead Redemption 2) realism doesn’t always work in video games for a great experience. The shopkeeper mechanic is one of those things. On top of that, the weapon upgrade system was not enjoyable because it felt like I had to be locked into one type of weapon because the investment of time in dungeons needed to spread the wealth in order to make alternative weapons was simply not worth the time investment.
Having said all of this, Moonlighter did make many updates after release and I haven’t played those updates yet so I can’t comment if any of the above issues were alleviated. Maybe I will try the update eventually, but the above was my experience not long after release.