Which Weapons Should You Use in Moonlighter?
Moonlighter puts you in the role of Will, a "hero-merchant" who explores dungeons to find valuable artifacts. You split your time between looting monster-infested labyrinths and managing your store. Moonlighter has retro graphics and no voice-acting, but its speed and simplistic story ensure there's never a dull moment.
Will can hold two weapons at once that can be swapped with the press of a button, each with their own strengths and weaknesses—which reigns supreme? Here's everything you need to know about the weapon types in Moonlighter!
1. Sword and Shield
Standard Attack: Short-ranged curved sword swipe.
Alternative Attack: Raise shield for defense.
You'll automatically receive one of these after the tutorial, letting you test if it's for you. The standard attack doesn't have as much forward range as some weapons, but it arcs, letting you hit enemies at slight angles. And like other melee weapons, if you use the standard attack three times in a row, the third hit will be slightly delayed but deal double damage.
Unlike other weapon classes, your alternate move here isn't an attack; you simply raise your shield, automatically blocking attacks from the direction you face. You can still move with the shield raised, letting you safely relocate into better positions. This gives a nice defensive option for players who aren't great at timing dodge-rolls, letting them simply hold the shield as long as needed.
2. Big Sword
Standard Attack: Long-reaching and curved sword swipe.
Alternative Attack: Charge briefly to unleash a 360º spin attack.
Great Swords have slower attacks than their smaller counterparts, but in exchange, they have better reach and deal more damage. Thanks to the attack's curve and the ability to pierce obstacles, you can hit enemies to your sides and from behind cover. You can also slightly adjust your location and facing between each blow in the standard three-hit combo, so don't feel rooted in one spot.
No shield this time around; instead, you gain a powerful spin attack. It takes a brief moment to prepare, and can't be canceled once charged, but hits in all directions for severe damage, offering the game's best crowd control option. It can potentially strike the same enemy multiple times, and like other charge attacks, you have some invincibility frames when the attack starts.
Standard Attack: Long-reaching thrust directly forward.
Alternative Attack: Charge briefly to rush forward.
You'll use a weaker version of the spear during the tutorial, letting you test your affinity for it. Unlike swords, its attacks don't arc, so you have to directly face your foes, but the weapons have long reach and decent speed.
This time around, your charge attack, well, charges forward, hitting enemies directly ahead with a punishing blow. This can score some big damage, but be careful not to charge off a cliff or into hazardous terrain, both of which will damage you.
Standard Attack: Short but fast forward attack.
Alternative Attack: Charge briefly to rush forward.
Gloves are tricky. They unleash rapid attacks for fast damage, but with such short reach, you really need to be up close and personal. Swords arc around foes and spears out-range them, but there isn't a similar defensive property for gloves, meaning most players tend to take more hits with them equipped.
The alternative attack is similar to the spear's, charging forward after a brief pause, a nice option but not enough to save the weapon.
Standard Attack: Shoot an arrow straight ahead.
Alternative Attack: Charge for a stronger arrow that pierces and hones in.
Whatever melee weapon you prefer, the Bow should be your secondary weapon. Its default attack fires an arrow that travels until it hits an obstacle or enemy, providing an incredible range that makes certain enemies much more manageable.
The alternative attack has a longer charge than other weapons, but fires a stronger arrow that pierces, and has slight homing capabilities, letting you hit foes even if they're not directly ahead. Definitely a tool you'll want available.
Damage or Status Effects in Moonlighter?
No matter which pair of the above weapons you prefer, you'll be able to upgrade them at the forge (unlocked by spending 500 gold). Each weapon can proceed down one of two paths, one that focuses on raw damage, the other sacrificing some damage for potential status conditions with each hit.
Crafting the next tier requires the weapon from the previous one (in addition to gold and other materials), meaning it's easier to stick with one path than dabble around. I highly recommend going with raw damage—the statuses are nice, but don't trigger on every hit. Additionally, they only work with each weapon's basic attacks, making the damage-path undeniably superior for your charge moves.
Moonlighter Weapon Pairing
Summarizing our above info, I recommend the Big Sword and Bow, both on the damage path (if you insist on having a status weapon, choose the Bow). The Big Sword's curvature, reach, and power are great for close combat, and its spin attack helps clear paths when cornered. Meanwhile, the Bow snipes enemies who lack ranged moves, and it's often your best bet against bosses.
That said, all weapons have their merits, so feel free to swap out if another comes more naturally to you, just remember that you can't access your inventory until a room is enemy-free. But for now, share your favorite Moonlighter build and I'll see you at our next gaming countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill