Moonglow Bay Review: Fishing for Thrills

Between RPG and Life Simulator, let’s discover together in this review the true soul of Moonglow Bay

Imagine waking up early in the morning in a colorful and peaceful world. The brisk sea breeze blows through the streets of your small town as you get ready to discover and catch new sea creatures with your fishing rod on your back. No, you are not reading the report of a possible day in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but the review of Moonglow Bay, available exclusively on PC and Microsoft consoles.

Announced last March during the Xbox Indie Showcase, Moonglow Bay has over time proved to be an excellent embodiment of the famous proverb “you don’t judge a book by its cover alone”. The work of Bunnyhug e In fact, Coatsink lives on a dualism initially only hinted at, but which is revealed gradually with the passing of the hours of play and the unfolding of the plot. Yes, we wrote our own plot, because if at first glance Moonglow Bay seems “just” a simple fish-themed Life Simulator, under the surface there is a touching narrative, which will be the background to our fishing trips.

You don’t live by fishing alone

Let’s start by saying that the game dialogues will be many, and at the moment the title is only available in English, so a good understanding of this language will be required to be able to enjoy the plot to the fullest. The protagonist, whose name (and relative pronoun with which people will refer to us), sex and physical appearance among some preset models, we will be able to choose, will be an inexperienced fisherman who decides to give up everything and move with his (or her) own / a partner (also customizable as the protagonist) in the fictional town of Moonglow Bay, located on the eastern coasts of Canada, to devote himself to a life of fishing alone.

In the opening cut-scene we will see how this little dream will have short life, because soon our life partner will sadly pass away, leaving a void that will plunge our character into the abyss of depression. From these premises the real story begins, when, three years later, we will receive the visit of our daughter River, who will be able to rekindle our protagonist’s desire to live.

To act as a context for these events we have the town of Moonglow Bay, which, like the protagonist, is experiencing a period of serious crisis that is decimating all the activities in the area. We will therefore decide to help the community by re-establishing the fish trade. The fate of Moonglow Bay is therefore closely linked to that of our character, in a touching story made up of funny moments but also of mysterious situations, because, to help the town, we will have to shed light on the legends of some mythical marine beings.

We will not add anything else in this review, to avoid any spoilers, but you just need to know that the narrative of Moonglow Bay is much more than a mere accessory component, and, even without major evolutions, it will reward players who manage to immerse themselves in the atmosphere. created by the title. And if you have someone to share the adventure with, you can activate the local co-op at any time to share the experience.

Let’s Fish Them All – Moonglow Bay Review

Being the main activity (but not the only one) that will keep us busy during our games, fishing occupies an important role in the gameplay of the title. The mechanics conceived by the developers are quite simple but sufficiently thorough not to disfigure with the relaxed tones of the adventure, although in the long run it lends itself to a certain basic repetitiveness: once we have reached an adequate dock (or taken off with our boat) , we will have the possibility to select some elements such as the type of rod and the bait. In general, however, most of the time it will be enough to simply press the button at the right time and then pull the rod away from the direction of the fish. We can also give some tugs that will help us a lot, but we will have to be careful not to abuse them so as not to get tired too much.

With the continuation of the plot we will then find ourselves facing sea creatures that will act as “bosses”, for which a bit more strategy will be needed. Although not all of these situations can be said to be fully successful, on the whole the expedient is pleasant and fun, also thanks to a level of difficulty (almost) never frustrating. As already mentioned previously in this review, these are the moments in which Moonglow Bay shows off a sense of discovery and progression completely unexpected for an exponent of this genre, which will push the player to dig even deeper into the lore created by the game.

Moonglow Bay Review: Fishing for Thrills

Sleepers Don’t Catch Fish – Moonglow Bay Review

Although the title was conceived to be lived as a relaxing and idyllic experience, the fact remains that to bring back the name of Moonglow Bay we will need to roll up our sleeves. In addition to capturing the many marine species that the game will make available (some of which are really funny and imaginative), we will also have to learn the art of cooking to satisfy specific requests of the inhabitants. In fact, it will be essential to dedicate ourselves to the preparation of a great variety of recipes with the catch of the day, starting from the simplest (such as the very common, and much loved, Fish & Chips) to finally arrive at the most refined culinary creations.

Interacting with the kitchen of our house we will be able to choose the suitable container (we will get new ones over time) and then try our hand at a series of short quick-time events to prepare our recipe. The dishes can finally be sold through specific dispensers (thus making us earn some extra money) or they will be needed to complete specific quests.

In addition to fishing and cooking, however, we must remember that we are part of a community. Moonglow Bay is a lively town, and if it is true that the game will prompt us to set sail with our trusty boat to explore the various maritime areas that surround the bay, it is good to take a moment to take a break from time to time, if only to simply walk around. the city streets. Seeing the landscape change as the day progresses is truly relaxing, as well as an intrinsic part of the experience offered by the title. We can decide to visit the city aquarium, donating some new species of marine creature we have captured, or (if we have enough money) leave a donation to help the activities of the town (such as the pub, the bookshop, etc …).

In short, listing in this review all the activities offered by the game would be impossible, but know that in Moonglow Bay there is certainly no shortage of things to do, and it is really pleasant to observe the town that gradually comes back to life thanks to our contribution. To be fair it must be said that the game will not always be clear in specifying certain mechanics, and sometimes it was not easy to understand where to go to complete a certain quest, but luckily we ran into this problem rather rarely.

Moonglow Bay Review: Fishing for Thrills

Lots of colorful cubes – Moonglow Bay Review

On the technical front, Bunnyhug’s effort opts for a “voxel” style that alternates some glimpses of impact with areas really poor in details, to which are then added static low-resolution shadows rather ugly. Overall we cannot say that the result shines for originality, but approached without particular pretensions (it is still an indie production) we are sure that the graphic style will be appreciated by lovers of the genre. But be prepared to turn a blind eye to a number of minor problems (such as semi-invisible steps and a few too many collisions that will force you to take longer laps).

Even the audio sector does its duty, with whistling songs, with shades that are now melancholic, now more cheerful, which slip away without particular pretensions, accompanying our daily duties with the right delicacy. On the other hand, the sound design is excellent, with a series of “maritime” themed sound effects that are really spot on and very pleasant to listen to (special mention for the choice of sounds during the cooking minigames, as well as for the “lapping” that accompanies the appearance of on-screen dialogs).

Unfortunately, however, it is the performance front that has not particularly convinced us. For this review we tried Moonglow Bay on an Xbox One S console, and we encountered very annoying framerate and screen tearing issues, which prevented us from fully enjoying the experience. To this was added an annoying bug that did not allow us to consult the map (fortunately solved by itself after a few hours of play). It seems that at the moment such problems afflict only some old gen versions of the title, while owners of PC and Series X / S should instead sleep peacefully. We hope that the developers will soon release a patch to fix these bugs, allowing all users to fully enjoy the game experience.

Moonglow Bay Review: Fishing for Thrills

Final remarks

Moonglow Bay is certainly not a title for everyone and does not even claim to be. He prefers to turn to that slice of players in search of a relaxed experience, devoid of those frenzied rhythms to which we are used today, but without depriving himself of the taste of revealing, little by little and at their own times, an intriguing context and narration. A few slips from a technical and gameplay point of view only partially undermine an experience you could seriously fall in love with, even more so if played with the right company.

Moonglow Bay is available for purchase from October 26, exclusively on PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X / S and is included in the Xbox Game Pass catalog. What do you think? Will you try this title? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned to for all the news about it. To buy video games at a discounted price, we recommend that you take a look at the Instant Gaming catalog.

Great for finding peace

Points in favor

  • An interesting hybrid between RPG and Life Simulator focused on fishing
  • Relaxed pace and successful atmosphere
  • Exploration and progression entice you to continue
  • Lots of activities and things to do

Points against

  • Sometimes fluctuating artistic direction
  • Some bugs and framerate problems (especially on old gen)
  • It is not always clear what to do in certain situations
  • Simple mechanics but which can become repetitive in the long run