I first saw Moonglow Bay by bunnyhug at this year’s Wholesome Direct. Back then I was still in lockdown and the idea of some time spending virtually fishing was very appealing. Now I’m out of lockdown and I’m still excited to be playing Moonglow Bay.
More than just a simple fishing game, Moonglow Bay tells a quaint little story that’s full of heart and will charm the pants off you. The dilapidated little town of Moonglow Bay has been hit by tough times, as have you, so it’s time for the both of you to pick yourselves up! Dive into this wonderful cosy game that focuses on friendship, community and looking after the environment.
Moonglow Bay is a relaxing and rewarding experience of a game that slowly eases you into some solemn and hard parts of life. While simultaneously rewarding you with bright joyous moments and fish. (Trigger warning for partner loss).
The once prosperous fishing town of Moonglow Bay has fallen on hard times. Shops are closed, buildings are falling apart and even the beaches and ocean are littered with trash. So much so that even the town’s City Hall has been boarded up.
What has happened to this quaint town? Well like most tragedies in life it all began with a rumour. Sightings of a terrifying sea monster had begun to circulate around town. Effectively scaring the local populace to stop fishing in the bay. Without the town’s main income the economy crashed, and that’s about where we are now.
Your Role In All This
It turns out the crumbling ruins of Moonglow Bay isn’t where anyone wants to be, except for you. It’s been three years since your character has lost their partner and devastated by grief they’ve become a recluse. Housebound by grief you’re unable to move on from that moment in time.
This is when your daughter comes to town to help you get your life back together. To fish, cook, sell your wares and revitalise Moonglow Bay. Which was always the dream of your now absent love.
Things move physically and emotionally slowly and little by little your character begins to embed themselves in the community. Meet the other residents in town, cook for them, help them out and learn more about their life. Their losses are hard too and hopefully, together you can all climb back into the light.
I did say that Moonglow Bay isn’t all about fishing, but it is a lot to do with it. The mechanics however are fun and easy to get into. There’s a wide variety of fish, and they present a different level of challenge. So some are relatively simple to catch while others are much more of a struggle. Throw in your line and you’re never sure if you’ll nab a guppy that takes a quick pull to land, or if you’ve hooked a monster the size of your boat.
You’ll start off simply fishing with your rod on the beach, but as you progress you’ll be able to get yourself a small fishing boat. Use that to travel the bay to catch more fish. Get lobster traps to leave in the water. As well as a fishing net that can net you a whole host of fish and bugs. You can also collect trash floating in the water to help clean up the bay, which is sorely needed.
There’s a lot of things for you to improve and get that will make your fishing better. This ranges from the different types of fishing rods, being able to improve your boat etc. But remember to save some of those fish to donate to the local aquarium too!
Making Money & The Town
Now that you’ve got all these fish what are you going to do with it? Cook them of course! You’ll be able to cook and sell your fish from the vending machine outside your house. Your kitchen isn’t anything much but it’s a living. When you go in there you’ll trigger a minigame that has you preparing the food according to the recipes you’ve learned. Wash, chop, fry, boil or bake – there’s a fun variety of things for you to test out.
Pretty soon from all your food and/or fish sales, you should be making a decent chunk of change. So now is the time to invest it back into the local economy! Fund town projects like building a library, shop at the local stores and eventually, you’ll unlock bigger and better amenities in town.
It’s not all just commerce however because the town is full of colourful characters—many will tell you about rare fish you can catch, or request you make them a specific fish-based meal or ask for help in the form of little side quests that may have nothing to do with fish at all.
Get Moonglow Bay If You Like Stardew Valley
Moonglow Bay is a feel-good game that has you slowly turning around the life of a depressed fisherman and town. It’s an intensely rewarding slice-of-life game that lets you play at whatever pace you want. There’s no need for you to rush the story along, or focus on maximising profits (unless that’s what you want to do). But I’d say that it was the emotional healing during this journey that hit me straight in the feels. And makes Moonglow Bay wonderfully memorable.