May 21, 2019
Cadence of Hyrule is right around the corner, and everyone is in a fervor over the impending indie gem. We know it’s slated to drop “Spring 2019”, but no date yet at the time of writing this. In the meantime, I’ve been playing another small, underrated indie title that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. And you should too if you’re a Zelda fan.
First the elephant in the room: what in the world is Moonlighter? It was a game I had never heard of until a few weeks ago, despite working at GameStop, until a Switch copy rolled into my store (it’s on PS4 & Steam too). When imagining this game, imagine a roguelike 2D Zelda, crossed with Binding of Isaac, and slap a shop in there for funsies. In Moonlighter, you live in the small town of Rynoka as a young shopkeeper named Will, in charge of the shop (wait for it), called the Moonlighter. Rynoka’s existence is thanks to some nearby dungeons, where you go and search for treasure, fight powerful enemies and mini bosses, then do battle with a mighty boss at the end of each dungeon for some killer loot. Sound familiar? When it’s all said and done you can return to town with your spoils and sell them in your shop. Now, when I say you sell them, I mean YOU sell them, as in you run the store: set items, prices, take request, and beat up thieves (the best part).
There’s a slight catch though: if you die in the dungeons, 90% of your inventory is lost, and all that effort is for naught. The combat can be challenging, but with quick reflexes, a sharp mind, and a sharper sword, you can deal with even the toughest enemies. Like in Zelda, in Moonlighter you have a wide variety of weapon choices: Sword & Shield, Long Sword, Spear, Bow & Arrows, and (stay with me on this) a broom, and/or your fists; you can go in punching things! The key to combat though is your dodge roll, which you can use to move faster, clear gaps, avoid hits, and get around enemies like in Dark Souls, or Wind Waker (the true Dark Souls of Zelda), and boy does it feel good to pull off. Now if you bite off more than you can chew you can warp home (for a fee) to preserve your items, but then you have to start over from the beginning. If you’re struggling you can upgrade your gear to hit harder, take more shots, or get potions to heal you, as brute forcing it is not recommended (but hey, if that’s your style, you do you).
As you beat one dungeon you’ll unlock another, all in an effort to open the mysterious “5th Door” & learn what secrets lie beyond. Once you beat the game there is a new game plus (which I’m doing) that adds new difficulty, new items, new gear, and new shop prices, thus more replay value. Best part is this game is still getting updates with new content to add new things, totally free. Moonlighter is all I’ve been playing for the last two weeks, and if you want a fun Zelda-like indie game to tide you over for a bit, I couldn’t recommend this game more!