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Moonstone Island feels right at home on the Nintendo Switch

Moonstone Island feels right at home on the Nintendo Switch

Another hit cosy sim has landed albeit with a twist

Moonstone Island has managed to do that very rare thing, stand out amongst a sea of cosy sims. Launching a new cosy sim can be a somewhat cutthroat experience. It feels as if there’s a new one landing every other week which, yes, is exciting to an extent. For those of us who are fans of the genre, there’s always something new to dive into. The problem is, such games usually require a massive time investment.

In each and every title, you’re going to want to grow every available crop, expand your farm or homestead, clear supply dungeons, befriend your town’s denizens, or whatever else that particular game demands. Cosy sims rarely have an end point. You can go on building your cosy empire for as long as you so desire.

With that in mind, while many of us cosy gamers may try out a wide array of titles, it’s very rare we’ll stick with them all, instead falling back on a reliable few to which we place the main focus of our efforts. For me, that’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Fae Farm. For others, it may be Stardew Valley, Harvestella, or Coral Island.

Take a look at Moonstone Island in action below.

There is a level of grind that comes with playing cosy sims which anyone who forays into the genre will be familiar with and accepting of. But add too many humble virtual abodes to the pile and that sense of grind begins to exacerbate into a chore. It’s why I end up dropping so many new yet promising releases.

Moonstone Island appears to have avoided this sad fate. It’s an oversimplification to call the game a cosy sim. Yes, there’s farming, mining, and crafting involved but so too is Moonstone Island a creature collector. Think Stardew Valley meets Pokémon. You’ll assume the role of a budding alchemist who must leave home and head to Moonstone Island in order to study. Before long, you’re set up with your own tent and starter Spirit, ready to face the unknown that is the future.

It goes without saying that a major focus of the game is on improving your living quarters. You’ll be able to farm the surrounding lands and build new decorative items to personalise your plot. Of course, this all comes with time. As with all other cosy sims, you can’t rush these things. You’ll be able to chat with all the local townsfolk who’ll set you to work on a variety of tasks to get you started so you can learn all there is to know about crafting and securing ores from Moonstone Island’s caves.

Moonstone Island /
Raw Fury

The townsfolk aren’t just there to be quest-givers though. You’ll have the opportunity to build up your relationships which could result in a date if you stumble across a worthy match.

I want to focus on the creature collecting aspect though, because that’s what makes Moonstone Island so unique. Just as in the Pokémon franchise, you’ll be able to pick from three starters, although here they’re spirits instead of ‘Mons. Across the game’s world, particularly in dungeons and caves, you’ll encounter other spirits, automatically prompting a card-based battle. I’ll admit, I’m not usually one for card-based battlers but there’s something about Moonstone Island’s take on the format that just clicked with me.

You can either defeat or tame spirits. Tame them and you’ll have the chance to add them to your own spirit line-up. It could be the fact that this spirit system is closely tied in with the game’s farming mechanics that allowed me to gel with it. You’re not simply farming fruit and veg to make a quick bit of cash, although you can sell produce. Instead, you’ll use your crops in order to craft and brew potions that’ll help you in battle. Remember, I did say you were training to be an alchemist.

Moonstone Island /
Raw Fury

With over 70 spirits to tame and 100 islands to explore, Moonstone Island’s world feels limitless even if it isn’t. It’s going to take me a good long while until I uncover every stone there is to be turned.

It’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Moonstone Island’s graphics. The game feels right at home on the Nintendo Switch having previously been released on PC only. Moonstone Island is made in a pixel art style which cast me right back to the Game Boy Advance titles I played religiously during my childhood although Moonstone Island is far more fluid and vibrant than any of those games ever were.

If you’re sitting there thinking you don’t possibly need to add another cosy sim to your to-play pile, I highly urge you to reconsider. Moonstone Island is everything you could want from a Nintendo Switch title. In fact, in combining the worlds of Pokémon and cosy games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, I’m imagining it’s a formula Nintendo will be frustrated that it didn’t cook up in-house. There’s the usual grind required in games of this genre but with the spirit battles to switch things up and a picturesque art style, Moonstone Island is certain to warm your heart and maintain your interest.

A review code was provided by the publisher Raw Fury.

Featured Image Credit: Raw Fury

Topics: Nintendo Switch, Indie Games, Opinion, Stardew Valley, Pokemon