Moonstone Island is a Monster Catching, Card Battler, Farming Sim. Developed by Studio Supersoft and published by Raw Fury. Being Studio Supersoft’s first project, I know that they knocked this one out of the park. There was a rocky start for the crew at Studio Supersoft where people were trying to scam others on Discord. By either asking for information to get an early copy of the game or just giving them a download code. Doing this would cause major issues for those users like getting their accounts hacked. Luckily, the issue was resolved by notifying the public on Twitter and Reddit about the situation as soon as possible.
They made sure no one was tricked by those scammers. It’s available on Steam and will have a Nintendo Switch port at a later date. Giving us a game that not only combined some elements that made Stardew Valley a great game. Yet, they also threw splashes of Pokemon and the deck building fun of Slay the Spire combined. With a nice calming background music that will have you in a trance, while time flies and it’s already the next day for you and you’ve sunk 12 hours into the game already.
With amazing character portraits and unique monster concepts, this game will also keep you on your toes when planning to enter the various dungeons this game has.
If I knew that the Moonstone Island was going to be haunted by spirits, I would have brought a vacuum cleaner with me.
In this game, you’re the Alchemist. A young person who’s reached the age for all alchemists to leave the nest and help an island town that lacks an alchemist, to begin with. Alchemists are known not only for the concoctions they make to help the communities, but you’re also helping them stay safe from any rogue spirits by taming spirits to fight for you. After a well made tutorial explaining the ins and outs of collecting plants, making tilted soil and how to harvest seeds to grow more of them. After that, you’ll learn about spirit battles, how to plan your moves to your energy crystals and how to tame them as well.
Once you’re done with the tutorial, you embark on a nearby village. After the outside islands have finished generating, your broom stops working and you crash land near the village. After attempting to collect your things after the landing, your character falls asleep at exactly 2 a.m. This teaches us that we’re on a fixed time limit and if we don’t reach our bed before 2 a.m., Ossono, the owner of the village’s tavern inn, will find us and charge us 50 coins for a bed in her inn until we’ve placed our tent somewhere. Once you’ve completed that portion of the story, you’re free to do anything you’d like and start meeting the villagers who you’ll be seeing everyone for the next year.
During my stay in Moonstone Island, I enjoyed the concept of the spirit system and how creative some of the NPC and the items they put together are.
However, there were times when I wished for a status bar for our skill tree to know what else is needed to earn another point. Or increasing the number of spirits you can carry on your person in the medallion or a system to swap them out spirits with those in the barn while you’re away and attempting a dungeon. I have to say that the unique way they approached the spirit concept is what intrigued me the most when it came to this game. You not only get to bring along 3 spirits of your choice, but you can go into the space they’re currently housed in. With the medallion, you enter the space that has the 3 spirits you bring along to fight other spirits through your travels of the 100 islands that surround your village.
Spirits and Alchemy 101
Once you’ve acquired the blueprints to make the Spirit Barn, you’ll be able to tame more spirits. Taming isn’t the only way to get spirits, you’ll also get eggs at random after defeating other spirits. Another thing that people should focus on when battling is not only the cards but their element type and their weaknesses. There are 8 elements that occupy Moonstone Island, Water, Fire, Earth, Ice, Poison, Electric, Dark and Psychic. These elements not only exist within the spirits but the islands themselves have been influenced by these elements. where you’ll find these spirits.
So far, spirits have two weaknesses that should always be players’ focus before going forward. The second part of being an alchemist is making things easier on yourself and making potions. You can gather materials needed from islands and dungeons you visit, while also gaining them from spirits in the spirit barn after a day of them staying and being fed to drop said materials. It varies from the element of the spirit you have in the spirit barn, and can vary on who will drop it and if they drop it all that day. The use of the stamina bar being connected to not only the use of every tool you use but to your very health is in my opinion pretty impressive and very effective for players to focus on the bar and to carry as many items to keep their stamina up for the rest of the day.
Skill Tree and Socializing
Doing certain activities after a while will unlock a point in certain branches in the skill tree. There are only two ways to view it, is by going to bed, or making a mirror. The mirror helps keep track on what branch you’re working on. Finally the speaking and dating aspect is by far a new take to me. Slightly similar to a dating sim game form of letting you choose which sentence to say to the NPC you’re speaking to, instead you’ll have 3 options with a percentage of said choice either working or failing.
You can only choose any one of the three being Chat, Joke, and Flirt, but one 3 times a person. Now when it comes to dating, you have similar choices being the Beach, Tavern and Hotspring, which also have a percentages of working or failing. I’ve learned that you could run it by the luck of the draw, or do what I did and roll some dice until they all roll low to get rid of any bad luck. I did love the many different plants that appear with each changing season, in my opinion they are both adorable and creative. Like for example, plants like pinwheel flowers, beach peaches, and popsiplants only appear in the summer. These plants that all look like popsicles and beach balls because they’re the greatest symbol of summer.
Graphics & Audio
Another alluring feature to Moonstone Island is the beautiful pixel art on every corner of this game. The amount of love was felt through the amazing work done on the pixel out, especially on the environments. The quality of the work did not falter when I switched between playing on my desktop and the Steam Deck. However, on the Steam Deck, the frames slightly dipped a bit, but not so much that it affected my gameplay. Throughout my playthrough, I didn’t come across any kind of issue with the audio or the graphics at all.
I think the only glitch I did come across was the destruction of my sleep schedule. I give them credit for the sounds I got from pulling the plants out of the ground. Even the sound of cutting plants to receive more seeds and even the sounds made when swimming around the hotspring. (Note: Never swim in a hotspring in real life. It’s a big no no.) Another thing to bring up that I really enjoyed was the soundtrack for everything I’ve come across so far.
The calming tones played when you’re in village on the main island, the upbeat music when you’re in battle. And the music used to give you a sense of concern for what’s about to come when entering a dungeon.
With the fact that Moonstone Island generates 100 islands for us to explore and 30 dungeons that are never similar. I have a feeling that this game will take a long time, but I don’t mind that at all. With the dating and social aspects that we’ll be doing to learn more about what brought them here. And collecting every spirit and start the union between humans and spirits again from our efforts will keep you playing. So, grab a bowl of your favorite snacks, a large amount of your liquid of your choice.
Also some eyedrops from your eyes not blinking much.
The time I’ve spent in Moonstone Island was a much needed breath of fresh air. It feel like we’ve only scratched the surface in this genre. Playing the game between keyboard and mouse, controller, I feel that this game is better played off a controller. With the tool wheel, it’s a bit of a hassle to switch between weapons with a mouse and keyboard.
Where a controller is made for the tool wheel’s function and capability. The villagers themselves have such rich and vibrant personalities that makes me want to know more. Dating them all just is the only way to get more lore about them. But, my heart will always belong to Ferra because I just love the chaotic innocence she represents in my heart. The achievements they placed in the game are by far well worth the look and fun to obtain.
I cannot wait to continue this venture throughout the islands. And I’ll finally get my answer on what is going on with Wally and his Baba Yaga home. Also, be kind to your muscle girlfriends, you never know what poetic justice they might deliver.
Moonstone Island gets a Thumb Culture Gold Award from me.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.