Game Review: Moonstone Island by Studio Supersoft

 
 

Moonstone Island is a cute farming/life sim with a focus on creature collecting, deck building, and turn-based card combat. You’re a new alchemist sent to a remote island where you can explore other nearby islands, traverse dungeons, make potions, grow plants, befriend and romance villagers, collect spirits, and do your part to help save the world through card battles.


Official Description:

Moonstone Island is a creature-collecting life-sim set in an open world with 100 islands to explore. Make friends, brew potions, collect Spirits, and test your strength in card-based encounters to complete your Alchemy training!

Long Review:

*This game is still brand new at the time of my review, so there may be updates to some of the things I mention. I’ll try to update my review if there are.*

This was so fun! I got so sucked in that I pretty much did nothing but play for a week straight. I have some minor complaints, but I’ve had a great time playing!

Screenshot from Moonstone Island. Cute pixel art of my white-haired character fishing on a dock with a guy in a straw hat. Near us are two creatures, a big lizard wearing a snorkel and a fluffy fox.

Combat, Dungeons, & Creature Collecting:

– Combat is all card battles. Put together a team, level them up, give them food and potions to boost their stats, and curate their decks. Each one also has a special skill.

– You can take the combat as seriously or as laidback as you want. If you’re not trying to speedrun, then you don’t have to make perfect teams and decks. I certainly didn’t. There are some spirit types that are better in combat than others, so maybe try to find those. But with time, you can level them up with crops and upgrade cards. You can also choose between easy, hard, or recommended in the settings. Or you can create extra challenges for yourself, like using only certain types.

– Spirit collecting is fun, and the designs are so cute! There are 60+ (they’ve added more with updates). Though trying to get spirits that can only be hatched from an egg can be frustrating.

– There are 30 dungeons + an infinity dungeon. Each is sort of the same challenges, but still fun. I like that the UI shows you how many chests are left to find.

Screenshot from Moonstone Island showing my spirits in card-based combat against enemies.

NPCs & Romance:

– All the characters are sweet. Well, one is not at first, but you can get her to warm up to you.

– The romance options are diverse. There are eleven in total. Four men, four women, three nonbinary. Two are in their 40s or 50s. Some are neurodivergent. Some are POC. One speaks Tagalog.

– The relationship-building system is frustrating because you can talk, joke, or flirt, with a percent chance of success, but it’s just random, and there’s no dialogue with the choices. It felt so flat to just click “joke” and have a character give me a sad face because the random chance decided it failed. It felt just as flat when it was a 100% chance of success and I was just clicking three times to get some hearts.

– The characters and romances don’t have a lot of depth. Characters only have a few lines when you talk to them around town. I didn’t feel like I knew them at all until I started going on dates. Even then, there are 16 dates for each character, but each one is so short. Half the time, it’s just the character thanking you or saying, “I’m so nervous, I’ve never really dated before!” And then there’s no marriage, no moving in. (Update: Marriage has now been added, though I’m not sure how much there is to it.) But I like what I’ve seen of the characters! That’s why I’d like to get to know them more.

– NPCs often bring up how you, the player character, are so quiet and rarely speak, and I guess it was meant to be funny in a meta sort of way? For me, it just broke the illusion. I assumed my character was talking on dates or wherever, just that I, the player, wasn’t getting it all in the text.

– Magic Man AKA Waldo! From the start, he was the one character who was always there for me and seemed to care about me and worry for me. When I would pass out while fighting or exploring an island, he would come rescue me, carry me to his home, let me sleep in his bed. He wrote me letters to thank me for being his friend. So sweet. So precious.

– Ok I also love Tobin (bottom left), he’s an absolute sweetheart, and felt bad not giving him a bullet point too.

Screenshot from Moonstone Island. Pixel art of ten different romance options in the game.

Farming & Life Sim Elements:

– No character creation. No appearance options. No name. Gender is never stated.

– I call this a farming sim because it has many of the same elements (farming, mining, fishing, house decorating), but farming isn’t necessary. The crops just help with stamina and boosting spirits’ stats. There’s also not that much crafting. The real focus is on the creature collecting/battling.

– I hated the fishing game, and it could be hard for anyone with motor skill difficulties or slow reflexes. (It involves moving your cursor to follow a fish darting around.) Which is bad because you need one specific fish for the main quest. Using all three special hooks at once helps. But, even when I was able to catch the fish, I still hated it. (But it was worth it to make Tobin happy.) (Update: There’s now an easy setting that slows fish down.)

– There are no festivals or group gatherings, except one very basic thing.

– Trees, rocks, ore, and grass don’t respawn. However, you can buy saplings, rocks, and grass (they’ll fit the biome they’re placed in), which takes work and money but is better than nothing. Or you can just leave some islands barren, or go around taking trees and grass here and there, and you probably won’t run out, unless you’re selling them all or maybe trying to build lots of extra houses and buildings.

– House decorating is cute, though limited. There’s not that much furniture or decor to choose from (though they’ve added some more with updates since the game came out), and there’s very limited space to put things on counters/tables. Also a lot of items don’t really let you see what they look like before crafting, but you can see them in Paolo’s shop. And most items rotate!

– There are no pre-made floors or wallpaper. You can make your own or copy+paste other people’s. But there’s no centralized place to find them, every tile costs fibre, and you can’t place floor once furniture is placed.

– Some machines take time to craft things and only craft one thing at a time, however, it’s very few machines, and they’re not things you need tons of. Truly I didn’t find this to be a problem.

– Making money is easy. Honestly I hardly sold anything, and somehow I had plenty. You get it just from battling spirits, and once you have some in your barn, they’re an endless fount of drops you can sell.

Screenshot from Moonstone Island. Cute pixel art of the inside of my house all decorated with a couch around a small woodstove fireplace, a natural wood dining table, a fancy bathtub, lots of plants.

Story & Lore:

– The two main quests (closing the rift, restoring Waldo’s memories) were anticlimactic. Nothing happened. And it was disappointing that *SPOILER (barely)* even after Waldo comes back, he never walks around, and everyone still acts as if he’s not there. *END SPOILER*

– I may have missed it, but I don’t think there was any explanation for why ten people are living isolated on an island in the middle of nowhere.

– You have to go on dates with certain characters (namely Cleo, sorta Waldo) to get lore, which is weird, because you wouldn’t even know if you weren’t interested in them and didn’t see anyone else mention it. It would’ve made more sense to put lore into conversations you have just talking. Or cut scenes. Or quests. Or something other than dates.

Screenshot from Moonstone Island. Cute pixel art of a man whose face is made up of cards saying, 'It's Waldo!!! Hi!'

Everything Else:

– Cute pixel art!

– There didn’t seem to be much variation in music, and sometimes it just stopped entirely.

– There’s no time limit for quests, so no rush. Your alchemy apprenticeship or whatever it is lasts a year, but that doesn’t affect anything, you just get a letter.

– Lots of little spas to refill stamina.

– Stacks only go to 100.

– Collections don’t tell you items you need or have, just blank spots or pictures.

– Spirits in the barn will run away if you go too many days without feeding them. But the game gives you a warning before that happens.

– A few things are frustrating at the start because certain resources seem hard to come by or you don’t realize items are locked behind quests. But I didn’t find any of these to be a problem once I got further.

– I’ve played for 100 hours so far, and if they add more content, I can see myself playing more.

– I got this on sale on Steam for $17.99.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed this game! The creature collecting and card battles are fun, and the characters are sweet!

Screenshot from Moonstone Island. Cute pixel art of my character flying through the darkness on a glider while it rains what looks like colorful shooting stars around them.

Short Review:

– Collect lots of creatures with cute designs
– Deck building + card combat
– No time limit for quests
– Characters & romance not deep, but still diverse & sweet
– Not much story
– Limited but cute house decorating
– Overall, I’ve had a lot of fun playing!

Accessibility:

(May not include everything)
– Can turn off screen shake and controller rumble.
– Can reduce flicker.
– Can change keybindings.
– I think both keyboard and mouse are required (or controller).
– Not accessible for blind players or screen reader users.

More Info:

Steam

 
 
 
 

Talk to me!

Have you played Moonstone Island?
Have you ever played a creature collecting game?

 
 
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Your Thoughts

 

8 thoughts on “Game Review: Moonstone Island by Studio Supersoft

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  1. Angela @ Simply Angela

    This one looks so cute. I’m not a gamer, I just don’t have the time, but I have a lot of friends that would love this. Sorry that it had some issues, hopefully they’ll change some things around but I’m glad you had a good time with this one, Kit.

    Simply Angela

  2. Roberta R.

    “It felt so flat to just click “joke” and have a character give me a sad face because the random chance decided it failed. […] Half the time, it’s just the character thanking you or saying, “I’m so nervous, I’ve never really dated before!””
    LOL, it sounds like the creators have to work a bit on the relationship part.

    “I may have missed it, but I don’t think there was any explanation for why ten people are living isolated on an island in the middle of nowhere.”
    They’re not supposed to die, do they? Like in the Christie book? 😉

    It does sound cute though!

    1. Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight)

      I do think the relationships were the weakest point of the game, though I still love some of the characters regardless lol. I haven’t read what you’re referencing, so I don’t get the joke 🙁 But yeah, it’s a cute game!