I’ve come to the conclusion it’s not work that people don’t like, it’s getting paid to work. Take away any real, tangible reward and suddenly you have people droning away for hours on Korean MMORPGs, Stardew Valley and Farmville. I jest. Or not. In any case, Moonlighter [Official Site][Kickstarter Page] is a game about an ambitious shopkeeper who thinks his five eight hour days working the shop aren’t enough, and decides to head into dangerous dungeons and adventures to get that sweet, secondary source of income.
Ok, so I opened the post with that when in fact Moonlighter’s gameplay is dual and nothing like Farmville or Stardew Valley, I just really needed to get that thought out of my system. You might have seen something similar in Recettear, the jRPG that also had managing a store as a central mechanic, but while Moonlighter admittedly draws inspiration from it the gameplay seems to have several differences. The shop managing part will have you retrieving items from dungeons to sell them, upgrading your shop, crafting new items and managing your gold. I found the following snippet particularly interesting:
Moonlighter is all about combat, items and gold.
There is no level progression, so acquiring a powerful equipment is the only way to find out the mystery behind the sealed gate. What to keep, how to sell, and what to upgrade is crucial for the game.
Will needs to be a good archaeologist too. When an item is found for the first time, an entry that contains additional information on the object is added to a notebook. The more Will knows about a culture, the easier it will be for him to set the perfect selling price.
The spelunking part will have you navigating dungeons that remind me a lot of both The Binding of Isaac and the first Legend of Zelda game: divided in rooms, each with a set of foes and possibly chests to find. The dungeons have different themes according to their culture, and their layouts are randomly generated. While there’s no direct character progression system, you can upgrade and use different weapons (with different movesets) and pieces of armor.
Moonlighter has already secured help from the Square Enix Collective and is looking to raise $40k on kickstarter to help with development, with further stretch goals still not elaborated. With $19.6k secured and thirty-two days to go, things look promising for Digital Sun games, and if like me you’re immediately drawn in by the gorgeous pixel art, take a gander at further details on their kickstarter page to see if it tickles your fancy.