Moonglow Bay Review (Nintendo Switch)

Published on June 9th, 2024 by Kierra Lanier

Moonglow Bay Review (Nintendo Switch)

The concept of cozy games has taken an identity of its own in the gaming world. With everything from a Wholesome Direct to new categories popping up on gaming store sites, the concept of relaxing in the game world has morphed into a beast of its own. With a sea’s worth of cozy games, how does Moonglow Bay stack up? Does it bring a new flare to the genre, or does it sink to the bottom of the sea?


The game allows you to select one of four character appearances, as well as your partner before starting to play. You and your partner are looking to start a fishing and cooking business on Moonglow Bay. However, there’s rumblings of a monster living in the bay. Undeterred, your partner ventures out on a fishing trip, only to never return. With their disappearance, fishing in the bay dries up and the town continues to suffer from the collapse of the fishing trade.

Remembering your partner who disappeared three years ago in Moonglow Bay
It’s been three years since your partner mysteriously disappeared out on sea.

Fast forward three years, your daughter appears at your front door, tasked with helping with the Centennial Festival in hopes of reviving Moonglow Bay to its former glory. Things start off simply, with exploring around the bay and trying to convince the residents of Moonglow Bay that you’re serious about fishing and bringing back the life to the small town. But you’ll soon be caught up on a path of resurrecting the businesses all across the bay.

The story for Moonglow Bay runs at your pace. If you decide to spend your days endlessly fishing and cooking new dishes without touching the main story quests, you can do that. However, new upgrades and equipment are locked behind story progress, so it’s good to keep a healthy balance between progressing at your pace and moving the story forward. The main story quests do warm the player up to exploring outside of the bay and getting acquainted with the different types of equipment that you can use.

Side Quests

Along with the main story quests, you can also take on side quests, which are available at the town bulletin board. There is a limit of three tasks per day that you can take, ranging from fixing a dish, catching a fish, or just talking to the task provider to hear more facts about the strange fish in the bay. Side quests are a good way to earn extra money. When it comes to story, there is very little to be gleamed from these quests, outside of flavor text about specific fish, or the relationship you have between these characters and Moonglow Bay.

Side quest board in Moonglow Bay
You can collect up to three side quests a day from the bulletin board.


In Moonglow Bay, you’ll be bouncing back and forth between fishing out in the waters and cooking up the fish that you’ve caught to sell to your fellow townspeople. You are also able to sell the fish you catch, or donate any new catches to the museum. There are different areas of the water where fish can be caught. Different fish inhabit different bodies of water, and when you take into account the fact that you’ll need different fish for different recipes, it’s in your best interest to explore outside of the main bay.

Quest book in Moonglow Bay
All quests that you collect in the game will be outlined in your quest book.

Fish you caught can be used for making a dish to sell or just be sold outright. Cooking is broken up into different tasks that you’ll need to complete quick time events in order to progress. Failing these events does lower the star rating of a dish, which affects the price point that it can be sold at.

Moonglow Bay does operate on a clock, with time passing as you do your tasks in the game. While there isn’t an active penalty if you decide not to sleep, there isn’t much of an advantage to staying up until you’re caught in a groove. There aren’t any timers in the game that dictate how fast or slow you need to take the story quests (the exception being side quests, which do have to be done in a specific amount of days). So you can progress things at your pace.


Moonglow Bay’s main bread and butter is fishing. You can fish out on the sea on your boat or by the shore, although you’ll find much better fish out at sea. To fish, all you need is your rod. While bait isn’t required, you’ll get better catches by using it. Once a fish is hooked onto your lure, you have to reel it back in by pulling your rod in the opposite direction of where it’s swimming. You’ll continuing reeling it in until you catch the fish, with the option of releasing the fish if you wish.

Reeling in a fish in Moonglow Bay
When reeling in a fish, you’ll want to pull in the opposite direction.

You won’t just be using your rod to catch fish to cook meals, though. You’ll find that the creatures you can come across in the bay and right outside in the surrounding waters are a bit strange. You’ll use your rod to interact with strange items and large creatures. Sometimes though, this isn’t clearly outlined by the game and can result in some confusion.

Catching a fish in Moonglow Bay
After catching a fish, you’ll have the option of keeping or releasing it.

You can also catch fish using other equipment as well, such as nets or lobster traps. The net is an easy tool to make use of, and is a great way of capturing a large amount of fish at one time. However, you can only make use of nets when there are a pack of non-moving fish. There will usually be four to six dark spots to show these fish. You can control your direction and cast distance of the net, but if you end up missing, you can always recast. The fish also tend to regenerate quickly, so farming these spots are very easy. Lobster traps take more of a hands off approach, with you leaving the trap behind and checking up on it occasionally. You’ll have to wait until the trap is completely full before pulling it up, otherwise you won’t end up with anything.


Finishing up the gameplay loop is the cooking aspect. You can create a variety of dishes using the fish you catch. Recipes are unlocked by talking to other characters in the game and by cooking other dishes. When cooking, you’ll be performing a set of actions, from washing to baking. All steps of the recipe will be shown in the upper left of the screen and you’ll have to do the steps in the order outlined. With every step that you complete correctly, your dish star rating will increase (which will increase the price you can sell the dish for).

Recipe book in Moonglow Bay
You can collect recipes by continuously cooking or by receiving them from other characters.

There are several quick time events for every part of the cooking process. The events range from keeping your cursor within a specific area, holding/hitting the button at a specific time. While these events aren’t difficult in theory, the timing for some of the events is slightly off to the point of needing to hit the button a bit earlier in order to actually pass the event. The upside though is that all of the quick time events are the same for each cooking process so you can anticipate which ones you’ll be doing when you see.

Cooking in Moonglow Bay
Your recipe steps are outlined whenever you cook a dish.

After cooking a meal, you have the option of selling the dishes outside of your home. All you have to do for this select the item and place however many of the dish you wish to sell into the box. After that, the items will sell on their own without your input. For those who aren’t looking to manage a storefront along with the fishing and cooking aspect, this hands off can be a blessing. But if you’re looking for a fast cash, you do have to wait a bit for items to sell.

Equipment and Upgrades

There are a variety of items that you can make use of to catch bigger and better fish as well as fix up your ship to handle longer trips. With there being three main types of fish (fast, aggressive, and resilient), there are three types of rods that are best used if you’re looking for a specific group of fish for your meals. The rods do have some overlap, so there’s nothing wrong with just sticking to one or two rods if you find those work better for you. But the starter rod that you being with (the balanced rod) works perfectly well, to the point where it feels like there’s not much of a reason to change things up and experiment. The fishing mechanic remains the same among all three rods, outside of how the fish actually moves when hooked. Along with the rods, there are also lures that you can use as well. The lures operate the different rods, having more of a chance of encountering a specific type of fish.

Shop interface in Moonglow Bay
You are able to purchase what you need from the many shops in Moonglow Bay.

If you’re looking for bigger fish, you’ll want to use better bait. Bait can be created during cooking, or some characters will give you some as you progress through the story. You’ll be able to catch fish to use for bait, or you can trade other bait that you have in exchange. Lower grade bait is easy to replenish, but if can be a while until you’re able to make your own high grade bait.

Sleeping in Moonglow Bay
You can pass time by going to sleep.

As for your boat, you’ll want to stay on top of repairs. If you’re reckless with driving, your ship will take damage and its functionality lessens the more damage you take. You can only make repairs at the boat shop. Along with repairs, they’ll also upgrade your ship to go faster and add a bed to allow you to sleep out on the sea.

Aesthetics and Music

Moonglow Bay has a distinct look compared to other games of its genre, going for a voxel appearance. It is a cute distinctive style, although the style doesn’t stand out as much when it comes to the larger environments. The town, the people, and the indoors of buildings look nice, but bigger locations are mainly huge blocks that blend together. The cartoon style that makes up mainly the splash art and your fishing manual are bright and vibrant and tie the whole game together.

The voxel aesthetic in Moonglow Bay
Moonglow Bay makes use of its voxel and cartoon style to present a town full of personality and mysteries.

Moonglow Bay leans more into a guitar and piano sound, which blends in well with the fishing aspect of the game. Many of the tracks are laid back, as though you’re just lounging in a chair on the beach watching the waves while others lean more into the fearsome nature of the ocean. It’s a nice mix and while no particular track stands out, the soundtrack does what it needs to do put you in the right frame of mind playing playing the game.

Performance and Accessibility

When it comes to how Moonglow Bay performs on the Switch, it does leave a bit to be desired. While the game runs fine in general, there is considerable load times while sleeping to progress to the next day. There is also occasionally stuttering when moving around the town that, while not constant, does happen a noticeable amount of times.

The town of Moonglow Bay
Moonglow Bay was a vibrant place before the fishing trade collapsed.

Another aspect that is a bit frustrating when it comes to accessibility has to do with a lack of clarity with how it conveys information to the player. There are times where a quest icon is at a specific location, but it doesn’t appear that the player can do anything until they reach a pre-determined point in the story for it to be relevant. There are also times where the game expects the player to perform an action but it either doesn’t state it clearly, or only mentions it once in dialogue and doesn’t reference what action needs to be done in the actual quest.


Moonglow Bay is a decent, albeit clunky addition to the life simulation genre. While fishing is a constant in games that players can dedicate a bit of time to, Moonglow Bay does well with the mechanics to keep to simple but fun. The cooking aspect, while cute and easy to play through, can be a bit tedious when taking into account the minor lag. The story isn’t much to write home about, with you building up a floundering town while trying to figure out what happened to your partner three years ago. It’s a nice game to pick up when you want to spend a bit fishing and cooking in between games, but comes up a bit short when standing on its own.

Rating: 6/10.

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About Kierra Lanier

Kierra has a major love for RPGs, visual novels, and tactics games. She loves playing weird anime games and screaming said games on Twitter.