Moonlighter is a game that combines dungeon crawling and shopkeeping. The gameplay is fun and the upgrade variety is good, but the game suffers from some crippling bugs, one of which wipes save games.
Great mix of shopkeeping and dungeon crawling elements. I was a real big fan of how the game combined shopkeeping and dungeon crawling elements together. The player ventures into dungeons in order to stock his/her shop, earning money to buy upgrades and such to make the dungeon crawling experience better, in turn allowing more items to be looted for the shop. The two are intertwined as such, building on each other over the course of the game. Seeing these two elements grow together was quite cool. Even so, it is possible to ignore the shopkeeping elements to some extent, but then the player would lose out on the money earned and the upgrades that could be purchased from that money.
Upgrade variety. There is a lot to upgrade in Moonlighter, and it is not all just equipment either. On top of the equipment (such as weapons and armor), the player is able to upgrade the town in which he/she does business, opening up new shops such as the blacksmith or apothecary. The player’s shop can also be upgraded, allowing more items to be sold at once. However, when it comes to equipment, there are a number of options in that area alone (sword, shield, spear, bow, big sword, armor, etc.). The game accommodates for different playstyles with this variety, allowing the player to experiment and find his/her fit. I ended up using the spear, opting for slightly increased range at the expense of some damage.
Bland dungeon crawling. While the mixture of shopkeeping and dungeon crawling elements do work well together, the dungeon crawling aspect of the game would not really be anything special if it stood on its own. It is basically the same thing everytime the player enters a dungeon, completing floors until the boss is found, with little variety along the way. Additional enemy types and room layouts would have been great, as even with the random generation of the dungeons, it oftentimes felt like the room layouts were just copy-pasted. It just feels bland.
Save-wiping bug. During my playthrough, I managed to run into the most bizarre bug that resulted in my entire save being wiped. I had opened a chest in the game’s first dungeon (on a hunt for loot, to upgrade my spear) and went AFK for some time after opening that chest. Upon coming back, my controller had disconnected so I reconnected it and backed out of the menus I was in. I then opened back up my inventory to discover that my magic mirror (the tool that lets the player sell items from his/her inventory) had disappeared, along with another key item (the one that lets the player drop a teleporting door at his/her location and warp back to the store). On top of this, my inventory had a duplication glitch, duping any item I placed in the top-right corner.
Unable to sell items, I decided to warp back to the store, save the game, and restart it. However, upon doing so, I discovered that my save game had been wiped. The actual file still existed on my computer, but it could not be loaded. I had made a backup of the file just in case, and was able to load the backup, which was saved about an hour or so before the bug occurred, but the magic mirror and other key item were still missing. Saving anytime after this point would cause my save to become unreadable the next time the game was loaded up. I had somehow managed to bug out the game to the point where I could no longer use any key items or save the game, forcing me to restart my entire playthrough.
Continue bug. It seemed whenever I tried to use the game’s “continue” option on its main menu, it would only work 50% of the time, sometimes loading the game as it should and sometimes booting up a new save for no reason. Whenever the latter happened, I would be forced to Alt+F4 the game, reload it, and hope that it does not happen again. This was a very annoying bug, but at least it did not wipe my save like the last one.
Moonlighter is a really fun game, but only when it works. The mix of shopkeeping and dungeon crawling elements was excellently done and the upgrades were fun to go through as well. Unfortunately, the bugs (especially the save-wiping one) prevent me from recommending the game. The game has seen several patches, so the fact that bugs like this still exist is just unacceptable. A shame, as I would have really enjoyed this game had I not lost considerable progress due to that bug.
You can buy Moonlighter on Steam here.
I was provided a free review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.