Lately, I have been spending my evenings playing slice of life styled games. Letting the hours pass by as I explore these strange and wonderful worlds, enjoying my time in the warmth of my own home. The Good Life had taken up a bunch of my time, that is, until Moonglow Bay made its way onto my gaming console.
Moonglow Bay is honestly my favorite slice of life style game since Stardew Valley — a game that I put hundreds of hours into on PC, and even more on Nintendo Switch. It’s well made, it’s beautifully crafted, there is so much to do, the game itself doesn’t ever feel annoying, boring or labor intensive. It’s just wonderful.
In Moonglow Bay, you play as an older adult, something that is not often specified in games, who has an adult, fully grown child. You moved to a small fishing town with your partner a few years back, however, on the day you got settled, your partner went out to sea and never came back. This left you depressed for three years, but now your child has moved to this town to help grow it back to prosperity, and be closer to you.
When you choose who you are and who your partner is, you can choose all of the looks and pronouns you’d like. You can have she/her pronouns with the more masculine looking character, it’s all up to you. Once you have chosen yourself and your love, the story starts to unfold. The town itself has gone into shock after losing your partner, and fishing isn’t really a part of it anymore. Your love wanted to change the town into something so much better, so in their memory, that’s what you are doing.
You are able to do a lot in Moonglow Bay, but the first big thing you can do is fish. You are able to collect a bunch of different modifiers to get different types of fish, lures and bait, as well as rod type, affecting what you get. Fishing, as a mechanic, has you pulling back on fish, trying to pull opposite from where they are going, and doing big tugs to try and capture them. After a while, you will unlock a boat that allows you to travel to different areas, where you can find different fish.
As you fish, and break the myth that fishing is something that can’t be done, more people in town want to try your fish dishes. You see, you are a bit of a cook, and can play a variety of different mini-games in your kitchen (and in the kitchen on your boat) to create a bunch of dishes. These recipes can be unlocked from cooking other recipes, talking to locals, or purchasing them from a shop. I really love games that have cooking in them, and the variety in complexity in these quick action mini-games are so fun. You are able to sell your dishes to locals using a vending machine, but Moonglow Bay is quite clever. If you keep putting the same (think high value) dish in the vending machine day after day to farm money, the townspeople will get sick of it, and they will pay a reduced fee. You can see what dish they are craving when creating them, to see if you should change what you are making.
Random people around the town also will tell you their favorite dish, and you can make them and deliver them to that person. I didn’t do this very much, as it is a lot of effort, and the people just seem to like you a little bit more, but ask for that food again, with no real gain. Other members of the general population actually have real quests, that give you rewards and progress the story, which you can take on and have added to your journal. Many of these quests do have large effects on the town, from investing in buildings so they can open back up to cleaning up the trash in the ocean and on the beaches.
As you explore and learn more, you will also be filling up a book with tons of information about culture around the fish you are catching, information that you have found by actually catching the fish, and information about the town. This log is quite cool to watch fill up, as the world itself becomes better. There are huge feelings of helping the town and making everyone’s lives better in Moonglow Bay, which I am totally here for. If you have a friend to join you on your adventure, you can play local two player, which is quite fun as well.
I don’t really have many negatives to say about Moonglow Bay, my biggest issue and learning curve was just the environment itself. The game is made in a beautiful voxel art style, which clashes with the beautiful hand drawn style of the menus and pictures of the characters. I found this quite jarring at first, as I really like consistent graphics, but it wasn’t that big of an issue, however there are parts of the map where the land isn’t flat, but you cannot jump, forcing you to run around the ridge to find a place you can walk up. This can be really confusing and challenging at first, but after you have played for a bit, you can develop a better eye for where you can walk and where you cannot.
You can find Moonglow Bay on PC and Xbox.
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