A PC code was provided to GamingPizza for this review. Moonstone Island is available now Nintendo Switch and PC.
As I wave goodbye to my parents, I hop on my broom with my nature Spirit Sheemp to explore the world while completing my Alchemy training. Immediately, I wreck my broom as I crash into the first island in the sky. Fortunately, it is an Island filled with friendly people happy to help me in my quest to become a true Alchemist. I know I need a new broom and work hard to gather the resources and knowledge to craft a new one. Learning as I go, and helping where I can, eventually, I am able to craft a brand new broom. This is the moment I have been working toward.
It is possible it took me longer than it should have, but nevertheless, I excitedly approach the edge of the Island. I am about to soar to one of the 100 other islands that need exploring. I start flying and… immediately plummet to my death. Wondering what I did wrong, I stare at the screen. Try again, same result. What step could I have possibly missed to prevent me from zooming around on this sweet ride? There is no way an Alchemist in training like myself could be experiencing user error… except that is exactly the problem. I activate the broom correctly and soar off to a new island.
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Moonstone Island combines many concepts from other games into a unique fun experience. The overall story for Moonstone Island is a great baseline with its gameplay that keeps you coming back for more. There is always something to do or somewhere to go. You really hit the ground running and it is engrossing to complete the simple and more complicated tasks/quests the game provides.
The game does a great job of keeping you playing and having fun. There are so many islands to explore and developer Studio Supersoft did a great job to make each one of them unique. You never know if the next one you go to will have a dungeon to clear or perhaps hidden treasure. It is a thrill to plan where you are going to go next and what adventure awaits on that island.
Pick a card
While jumping from island to island, you are bound to run into Spirits that need taming or banishing — a la Pokémon. There are five different Spirit types. Earth, Water, Poison, Electric, and Fire. The outcome of these Spirits is determined by card-based encounters. You are allowed to travel with three Spirits at a time, each Spirit having unique cards to build your deck with. With each successful battle, your Spirits gain experience, and as they level up, you and your deck become more powerful.
The battles are simple enough to understand right away but require enough strategy that you can spend days finding Spirits to fight with. Even when you run into a Spirit that is likely to wipe the floor with you, there is always a chance you can pull the right card that can turn the tide in your favor.
As you continue to build your deck and level up your Spirits, you start to feel invincible. Inevitably, every time I gained this level of confidence, I would end up on an island full of Spirits that were more than happy to put me back in my place. While in some games this could be frustrating, you are only one card or level up away from completely dominating every Spirit encounter. It is such a satisfying feeling to win an encounter. I could have played the game just for this component alone.
Crafting up a good time
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Banishing and taming Spirits is not the only thing Moonstone Island does well. As with so many other life sims, there is always a chance to make tasks seem like a chore rather than something fun and rewarding. This game did a good job of making sure that needed daily tasks like farming and feeding your collection of Spirits can be something you enjoy. If you aren’t into completing it yourself each day, you can craft items to help you automate the process. I really enjoyed the thought behind this.
The resources you need to craft, say, a sprinkler or an automatic feeder are easy enough to come by; it never feels like you have to sacrifice crafting a different item in order to automate a job you might be tired of completing manually. Resource gathering is integrated nicely into the gameplay. You can gather almost all the resources needed as you are exploring the many different islands in the game, so you never feel like you have to spend a whole day grinding just gathering resources.
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The one thing that left me wanting a little bit more in this game is the socializing/dating. It just never hooked me to wanting or needing to complete it. The concept was easy enough to follow, but you really just have to chat, joke, or flirt multiple times with someone to build your relationship.
Depending on what you choose — in a very The Sims-style manner — they will either respond positively or negatively. I think I would have liked it a little more if you had a chance to choose what was actually said, but in fairness to the game, that is asking a lot.
A feature I did like that comes with dating is when you are finally a good enough friend with someone you can use their bed for sleeping — a fun idea that at least rewards the work you have to put in to get someone to like you.
A nice blend of whimsy and alchemy
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Moonstone Island has a naturally inviting feel to it, blending enough different aspects to make the game a fun experience every time you play. There is always something you can be doing and the days spent in-game fly by as you work toward completing your Alchemist training.
I found myself going back to the game multiple times thinking I just wanted to finish this one thing or explore this one island real quick. It is addictive in a good way. It honestly took me longer to write this review because I was spending my time playing and enjoying the game. Overall, Moonstone Island is a fun game that is great for anyone looking for a unique and whimsical life sim experience.