Regular readers of this column will know that I generally only review two types of games: Games that I’ve been carefully and anxiously awaiting for many years, and games that I didn’t know anything about until I bought them ten minutes ago. Digital Sun’s Moonlighter is, surprisingly, the former: I’ve had some form of reminder tab floating around my Chrome hellzone ever since the first announcements and teaser trailers starting surfacing back in 2016. I try not to get prematurely hyped, but Moonlighter purported to fill an item-shop-shaped hole in my heart, left there by perennial darling Recettear and only somewhat tided over by the likes of Pixel Shopkeeper [reviewed here] and Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! [reviewed here].
Yeah, so I have a type. What can I say? Most video games are some form of power fantasy, and item shop games are a type of power fantasy I crave right now more than anything else: The ability to engage in ethical consumption under capitalism. Or, well, ‘ethical’ — I know times are tough right now, grandma, but if you can’t afford the ridiculous price tag I put on this stack of apples you’d better get the hell out of my store.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low. Mechanical, high.)
(Game source: Patreon funds.)