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Moonlighter beginner’s guide

Struggling to get your store up and running? Worry not!

Russ Frushtick is the director of special projects, and he has been covering the world of video games and technology for over 15 years. He co-founded Polygon in 2012.

Moonlighter may look adorable, but there are a ton of systems at work, and newcomers can easily be overwhelmed. Lucky for you we’re already up and running with a thriving ol’ time fantasy shoppe, and we’re more than happy to share our wealth of knowledge. Just not our actual wealth.


It’s best to think of Moonlighter as two games in one. The first game is a pretty typical top-down dungeon crawler. You’ll explore dungeons, kill monsters, rescue items from chests and feel pretty damn good about yourself.

In most games you’d simply earn experience and gold as you killed monsters, becoming stronger along the way. But Moonlighter is not most games!

Instead of simply earning money in dungeons, you’ll have to take the items you find back to town to sell to other would-be adventurers. This is where the “second game” comes in.

When you start off, you’ll have no idea what to charge for the variety of items you find. It’s just a matter of trial and error. Set an item at too high a price, and folks will get grumpy, refusing to buy it. Set it too low, and folks will be thrilled (but you’ll lose out on potential profit). The sweet spot you’re looking for is a happy face but not a super happy face, you feel me? It looks like this:

As you begin to dial in the prices, you’ll be able to sell items quicker and make tons of money, with which you can buy upgrades to your gear and store, which will help you survive dungeons better, which will help you to get more valuable items, and so on and so forth. And thus the basic loop is born.


At first glance, you may think that Moonlighter doesn’t give you any indication of the value of the items you’re picking up, but actually it does. If you look at your catalog for a given area, you’ll see a long list of the items you’ve collected thus far. But note that amount at the top of the screen here:

Digital Sun

This is basically telling you that the highest value item for the first dungeon is worth 3,000 gold. There’s another indicator at the bottom of the list, showing you the value of the lowest item. As the items populate, they’ll do so from highest to lowest value in your list. So if you find something very high up on your list, you can guess that it’s probably worth just under 3,000 gold.

You can also use this to guess the value of things in the middle of the list, as long as you have reference points above and below that item. Pick a value somewhere in the middle and see how the folks react!


As you begin to earn fat stacks of gold, you may wonder where you should spend your money.

As a basic rule of thumb, make upgrades to your town as soon as you can afford them. They’ll undoubtedly be useful over the long haul.

Some of the town upgrades will be far outside your income levels, though, so you should also look to upgrade your store whenever possible. Big store upgrades are at the top, increasing the amount of space you have to sell items. These will also add new features which will increase your income per sale. Definitely shoot for these first.

Digital Sun

If you have extra cash sitting around, buying the smaller store upgrades like the bed and the cash register will help as well.


Heading down into the depths means you’ll need some weaponry. You’ll start off with a puny broom, but pretty soon you’ll be able to craft new weapons, thanks to a smith that you unlock early on in your town.

Digital Sun

You can only equip two weapons at a time, and we suggest mixing it up for variety’s sake. Our preferred loadout has been the spear for fast, close-range encounters and the bow for long-range encounters. Unlocking the each of the first weapons is super cheap, though, so you’d do well to experiment and see which you prefer.

Pro tip: If you see something at the smith that requires specific items, you can put it on your wishlist. This will highlight those required items in your inventory.

With this knowledge, you should be able to make your way through the first dungeon without too much difficulty. The more you play, though, the more you’ll find the world of Moonlighter opening up to you. Here are a few quick parting tips to keep an eye on:

  • Bottomless pits aren’t always bottomless. Keep an eye out for a sparkle in a pit, and maybe consider taking the plunge.
  • Be smart about your inventory placement. Curses on items will start appearing, so stack your inventory to minimize the damage they cause.
  • Don’t tolerate shoplifters. If you see someone swiping something without paying, run over to them and stop them in their tracks.

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.