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Review

Moonglow Bay Review

Fish your worries away

It seems the older I get, the more likely it is I’ll play a casual indie over a bigger, AAA experience. Maybe it’s the oversaturation within the market, maybe it’s my reaction times fading, more likely it’s a good palate cleanser to the wild world around me. I’ve already had plenty of time for the likes of Animal Crossing and Cozy Grove, but I think I’ve found a new world to fall in love with and call home for a while.

Moonglow Bay begins on the open waters, your created character learning the basics of fishing from their loving partner who convinces you that moving was the right choice. You’re here to bring life back to the bay and its fishing industry, a dream that is quickly dashed two minutes later as the game skips forward a few years and punches you right in the feels. The emotional journey that follows has your daughter arrive on the scene to shake you out of your funk, as during those few years you’ve cruelly lost your partner to the seas and barely budged from your home since. The bay is in ruins, the ocean haunted by ‘monsters’, and now it’s up to you to finally push past your grief and do something about it.

Fishing has never been more relaxing

What follows is a voyage from humble fisherman to saviour of the town as you learn the ins and outs of fishing across the various areas of the bay and the waters beyond, cooking up different recipes with what you find before selling them on to the residents. You’ll be able to improve your equipment and utensils with what you raise, but the true goal is giving back to the bay to save it from closing for good. While that may sound like a daunting, RPG-ish adventure for hardened players, Moonglow Bay is all about relaxing on the waves and taking your time to discover the people and places that surround you.

The story of the bay and its curious encounters with sea creatures will keep you focused on the task at hand, building up your abilities to catch and cook the various fish you find and using those profits to revitalise the people and places of Moonglow. But there are plenty of occasions where just driving out to sea and seeing what you can find is just as fun. I can’t begin to describe how calming it is to set out on your boat and find a nice spot to throw out a fishing net and catch whatever comes by. I found myself losing track of time, both in game and in the real world, as I just sat there throwing my line out and moving on to a different spot to find something new.

Cooking is a breeze, no Mamas needed

Those looking for a little extra meat on the scaly bones of adventure will find plenty to do here. The cooking mechanics are mini games that never frustrate or punish you if you get it wrong, simply press or hold a button at the right time based on the required prompt. The better you do, the better the star rating for your chosen dish, which can also unlock new recipes and increase the sell price. Over time you’ll unlock various new abilities and pieces of equipment that make the fishing tasks easier, such as adding a kitchen to your boat or a net that can catch multiple fish in one go, and a quick visit to the local museum can lead to more information on each variety of fish you discover, which can again improve your profit margins.

Learning the history of the bay through its colourful cast of characters is a joy, and again there’s some emotional weight to it all that allows Moonglow Bay to stand out from the crowd. You’ll learn why the bay is in such disrepair and the various legends of the sea that now haunt those who remain. Though you may decide to focus solely on the story itself, it’s fun to dig a little deeper and the game encourages just that, whilst quickly reminding you of the impact your partner once had on them and pulling on your heart strings every few minutes in the process.

Dave is a good boy

Everything within Moonglow Bay is presented within a top-down voxel engine, a Minecraft Dungeons without the dungeons if you will, which has both positive and negative results. The colours pop on screen, especially as the sun rises over the water, with a wonderful UI that reacts to the time of day and some rather cute fish designs amongst the discoverable species. The included map and compass can be sometimes hard to read when following waypoints however, which can take a little time to figure out. You can turn said waypoints on and off within the menu, but it would have been nice to either colour code or differentiate them a little more. Similarly, I found myself pushing back on the right stick to pull the camera out as far as it could go to better understand where I was along the bay, as the closer the camera is the harder it can be to find your bearings.

Truth be told, none of the issues or minor glitches I did come across (my dog companion vanished entirely for a while there, for example) held back the pure joy that I’ve had and will continue to have with Moonglow Bay. I’ve only just scratched the surface of the many fish that exist, many of which feature tongue-in-cheek references and silly designs that had me laughing each time I found something new, and I feel like I could lose countless more hours continuing to discover.

Final Thoughts

Moonglow Bay is an absolute delight. If casual experiences with a colourful cast of characters and mechanics that don’t annoy are something you’re looking for, I can’t recommend this fishing adventure enough. Visit for the emotional beats that will have you on the edge of tears and stay for the pure joy of discovery and quite relaxation. Fishing has never been my thing, until now.

Reviewed on Xbox Series X // Review code supplied by publisher

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Moonglow Bay Review
Officially Hooked
Pure joy from start to finish, Moonglow Bay delights in its colour and story with some well executed fishing mechanics.
The Good
Wonderfully colourful world
Fishing has never felt as fun or relaxing
Emotional story that will play with your heart at times
Mechanics are easy to learn and master
The Bad
Some minor technical hiccups
Following waypoints can be awkward
9
Bloody Ripper
  • Bunnyhug
  • Coatsink
  • Xbox Series X|S / Xbox One / PC
  • October 27, 2021

Moonglow Bay Review
Officially Hooked
Pure joy from start to finish, Moonglow Bay delights in its colour and story with some well executed fishing mechanics.
The Good
Wonderfully colourful world
Fishing has never felt as fun or relaxing
Emotional story that will play with your heart at times
Mechanics are easy to learn and master
The Bad
Some minor technical hiccups
Following waypoints can be awkward
9
Bloody Ripper
Written By

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