Whenever I go to a convention, I tend to find one indie game that makes me stand up and take notice. Past titles like Enter The Gungeon and Flinthook have instantly gone from curiosities to highly anticipated releases based on just a small demo. Moonlighter is in that same tier, combining my love of procedural games with my collection tendencies and a shopkeeping mechanic that wraps the whole thing together.
I was initially drawn in by the game's wonderful pixel art, which is highly detailed and still simplistic. The characters are modeled in the way of older Pokemon titles, and there are a few more influences from that game present here. I especially enjoyed the random NPC banter in the town square as I made my way from my shop to the dungeons just down the road.
Once I was spelunking and fighting monsters, my Binding of Isaac instincts kicked in, although there are some significant differences between the two titles. For one, your character is at a set power level when you enter a dungeon, and improving your weapons and armor can only be done by buying or crafting new pieces in the town with your shop's hard earned gold. Of course, you can sample discarded weapons you find on your adventures, but these tend to be less powerful than what you can buy, which is both more realistic and a turn on what you'd expect from a game with loot.
Developed by Digital Sun Games after a successful Kickstarter campaign and published by 11 bit studios, Moonlighter is currently closing in on a beta for their backers in late June and planned for release on Steam by the end of the year. I was lucky enough to be able to speak with company founder Ruben Pico about the game in some detail just outside their room on the E3 show floor.
Moonlighter was demoed at E3 2017 and via a beta key provided by the developers.
If you want to know more about this and other announcements happening at E3 then be sure to check out our E3 2017 Coverage Hub.