Sequels are supposed to improve what was already put forward, but they can also exist new ideas to replace the old. But if a sequel doesn’t improve what was already put in place than its existence is questionable – in fact, if it keeps things as they are, it usually just becomes repetitive noise. But, can there be such a thing as good repetitive noise?
Cause good stuff is good stuff
Jenna Moonlight was a good game with amazing ideas that simply needed polish. Moonlight II: Red Moon Destiny should have been that polish, and it does introduce new concepts that mesh well, but it doesn’t do much to improve the already existing mechanics. In fact, it took away some of the free-form nature of the first for something more traditional, meaning fans will either love it to pieces or be annoyed that Nummyz took their toys away. Yet, despite being a textbook example of how to be a “meh” sequel, I find myself enjoying the ride for what it is.
This sequel assumes Witchy Vampire Protag, Jenna Moonlight, chose not to betray her friends and killed the Blood Prince. A year later her friend, Mobley, dies of a blood disease. Jenna realizes that she always loved Mobley and goes to a strange resort at the edge of the world. But it seems her Curse of the Main Character strikes again; the Pond has turned into a young demon with plans to destroy the world at the rise of the blood moon.
You have to stop the Pond one way or another. Can you kill him, purify him, or learn to love him?
If you thought Jenna the first was too easy to play before, you’ll be happy to know that everything just got twice as complicated. There’s an almost strict path to follow this time around and newbies will find themselves super lost.
Once again we have a nice nature-y hub with 50 hp and 6 different places to go. The goal is to win one of five lucky romance options, but the process has had an overhaul. Now you can’t even talk to your husbando/waifu until you buy a specific item they need/want, an item they hint at the first time you attempt to talk to them. And not only do they have to talk to you a bunch of times, but you have to give them one of every gift they’d like (usually two special items and a weapon) and go on two successful dates.
But hold your horses, cowgirls. You still have that treacherous Red Moon ready to spoil everything, and your beau will die if you don’t do something about it. You help them by casting a specific spell that’s hinted at in their dialogue but gotta buy the spellbook. Thankfully the book is affordable with your starting cash, but the rest of the items you’ll need aren’t. Before the resort owner, Kiori, can sell you the items you gotta work in her kitchens. You’ll be back here frequently because it’s the best way to make money and you’ll need a lot of things from her shop: the dagger to hunt, the camera to take pictures, the items for your spell, and more.
Kiori turns me into a workhorse yet again
You also have to take the time to do some hunting. These creatures will not only drop more money, a fact the game itself lampshades, but plot-important items. Each freaky, cutesy monster drops a different item and your beau should, once again, outright say which one they want.
But hey, don’t worry if you’re feeling overwhelmed. You got 50 days to do all this and, guess what: health carries over. So you could sleep a whole bunch of days and come back to do this all in one shot if you really wanted. The day limit makes this all super easy and eliminates what little tension the concept has.
Our weird scrapbook has returned with a vengeance, as Nummyz continues her strange free-hand style. She’s not only photoshopped background into her sim this time, eliminating half of the art required, but also photoshopped in items as well. The characters seem to be the only art available in the game, and it ranges from childish and cartoony to harlequin-light.
That being said, I always did find the art colorful and charming. It still has that dark, Buffy-esque look that’s not too bad for a freebie game.
You first discover Tristan bleeding and missing an arm, but he swears he’s totally fine. If you can get past his screen, you’ll find a very gruff go-getter attitude, which feels like a softer version of Logan from game one. He’s also super-shy about his feelings for Jenna and oddly calm for a man who had his arm ripped off by a werewolf. This hunter will go the distance for you and it’s up to you to save him from the pack running behind him.
So you recall your buddy, Logan? Well, this is Cross, one of the vampires he’s hunting. Cross reeks of Supernatural the TV show, with his pretty-boy eyes, edge-lord attitude and mildly cheesy dialogue. He speaks about him and Jenna succumbing to the darkness, but will happily live in the light with her if that’s what she wants. The whole thing is nostalgic for me (ah, those goth days in highschool) and the dialogue is at least entertaining. With this little bugger, you have to prep him for a final fight with Logan, meaning he’ll need his strength and a few successful dates.
Hey, sssssugar, how you doin’?
Nevy is a snake spirit that managed to take on a human form from magic. She’s far more outgoing about her attraction to Jenna than our last same-sex option, and I dare say far more interesting. She’s slick and charming, as any snake would be, with just enough sensuality to make her an even match for the boys. I’m quite proud to be away from the sniveling, clingy, mess that was Annej, and I think fans will be too.
And yes, dear readers, you can romance that which you’ve been fighting for two games now.
The pond has gone from a “she” to a young male demon, who wishes to purge the world of filthy, perverted, polluting humans. The Pond will become twice as powerful as the Red Moon rises, but finds himself conflicted at the attachment he feels for Jenna. The Pond is confused, and it’s up to Jenna to turn it from a being of pollution to a being of light. He’s the candidate for those who fantasize about rescuing their beloved from his/her terrible decisions and I can see the appeal.
The Final Verdict
Moonlight Sim II is a vast improvement from the first games at least in execution. There are more gameplay options and more personality traits in the characters, but it suffers the same problem that the first Jenna did: a lack of tension. That being said, It’s a fun time-waster that helped carry my interest in this kind of game and made me the consumer of Otome I am today. For all its oddities, it will always hold a very special place in my heart.
Next Time: Asagao Academy.
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