Mystical mercantile mashup Moonlighter hits stores

Moonlighter

Ever since delightful Japanese hack n’ slash/storekeeping sim hybrid Recettear proved that such a thing was even possible, I’ve loved the idea of playing as an RPG shopkeeper. Clearly they’re the most powerful class around – how else do you get multiple god-slaying swords in stock? Today yet another game in this small yet charming sub-genre was released. In Moonlighter, you run your family’s equipment store by day, plunder the dungeons for loot and additional stock by night – It almost makes working two jobs sound bearable.

As with Recettear, Moonlighter is a game of two halves. By day you wander the village, buying and selling gear as needed and tending to the store itself, stocking shelves and trying to turn as much profit as possible. Each villager has their list of likes, dislikes and special items they want to see stocked, so chattering to the locals helps. By night, the game turns into a Zelda-meets-roguelike procedurally generated dungeon crawl. Fight bosses, unlock new dungeon areas, grab loot to sell to the locals or upgrade yourself with.

Unlike Recettear, where the dungeons only became the focus of the game in the second major story arc, the dungeon crawling in Moonlighter is a lot more involved and makes up the lion’s share of the game. Rather than blaze through enemies at a thousand miles an hour, you’ve got to be a bit more methodical in combat, and do a lot of careful picking and choosing of what you loot to fill your backpack with. You can only haul so much back out with you after a dungeon run, so you’ve also got to weigh up what you bring in as equipment for yourself to bring into the field.

While I’m not sure if anyone at Fort RPS has had a chance to monkey around a bit with Moonlighter, response to the game does seem broadly positive, although it does have some gaps in its stock, including a lack of native mouse support and limited support for gamepads outside of generic XInput devices. No issue if you’ve got an Xbox controller to hand, but could be a problem otherwise. Beyond that, there’s some reports of bugs and balance issues, but beyond that folks seem happy with the game.

Moonlighter is out now on Steam, GOG and Humble, priced at £15.49/$20.

12 Comments

  1. Blowfeld81 says:

    I enjoy the game so far, but there are quite a lot of control bugs for keyboard and gamepad and the ingame documentation is lacking. Just like mouse support ;)

    Still, a relaxing game. Not as deep as I thought, contentwise.

  2. stonetoes says:

    I was having fun with this until I noticed that the enemies’ attacks damage you…and so does making contact with them in any way. Really? Games still do this? I remember getting annoyed at how silly that was back when I played Sonic the Hedgehog more than two decades ago.

    Maybe I’m just grumpy because it’s past my bedtime.

  3. Kitsunin says:

    I was really hoping this would be, like, Recettear 2.0. It’s not. The combat feels better, but the shopkeeping almost feels like a really drawn out way of selling your loot, instead of the point of the game. To be fair there was an optimal strategy to shopkeeping in Recettear which meant it wasn’t a lot better in that game either. So in the end I guess this is as good despite the lack of humor, because the dungeon-delving is quite good. It’s just not the refinement on the item-shop-running game I was hoping for.

  4. Uberwolfe says:

    So Recettear had fantastic shopkeeping mechanics yet average combat.

    This seems to be the opposite.. improved combat but lacking shopkeeping.

    Shame.

  5. Morcane says:

    I refunded it – perhaps I’ll pick it up for console, but the absolutely terrible KB+mouse (or rather, lack of mouse support) is … come on people, this is 2018.

    • noodlecake says:

      Cant you just plug a controller into your PC? You’re clearly not averse to using a controller as you own a console.

  6. WoodGuyThreepBrush says:

    If the shop keepers have ran all the local dungeons to collect the loot, the adventurers will have no unspoiled dungeons to raid, and thus will have no need of dungeoneering equipment.

    It’s a paradox

    • Linkblade says:

      It’s 2018, nowadays the dungeons are procedurally generated and newly fresh everytime you hop into them! Treasures fill up themselves by the RNG goddess! Thus this Moonlighter guy doesn’t spoil the fun for his customers.

  7. Linkblade says:

    If you are in need of a better shopkeeping game, have you played “Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!” ?

  8. mike69 says:

    I like the trend of making these games but I don’t understand why they’re all so luke warm and half arsed.

    It’s basically just any other combat/RPG game. I don’t want to be battling monsters for loot (that’s not how shops work) I want to be putting in an order with the shop keep in the next town. Let’s introduce some actual trading – you know, like a shop keep! Maybe I have to go on a bit of a journey to meet my cactus fruit supplier, that kind of thing.

    So yea wake me up when someone makes one of these games properly.

  9. Taerdin says:

    After reading the steam reviews about how there is not much content, the game is shallow, and the shop keeping is not that interesting… I decided to pass.

    May just try to play Recettear again at some point…

  10. zergrush says:

    it’s quite charming but not very fun to play unfortunately. neither the combat or the shopkeeping feel good, I ended up asking for a refund.

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