A brightly themed adventure that sets you on a path to save the world, one color at a time.
By looking at the artwork and trailer of this game, you can probably expect to go into the game and get something leaning on the “easy” side and you’d be right with that, but this isn’t the “easy is boring” type of game. While you won’t find yourself banging your head against a wall trying to take out enemies, the game still offers enough of a challenge to keep you coming back for more. And it does it in such a beautifully colorful way.
Rainbow Billy starts off just as you’d expect. There’s happiness in the air, smiles all around, and a colorful world to explore and just enjoy. Not too long into the game, you meet the Leviathan who very swiftly removes all the color, leaving you in a grayscale world that is both dark and dreary. It’ll be up to you to restore the color to the world by winning mini battles with creatures who have turned, well, to the dark side, for lack of a better description. When you win against the creatures, the pop back into their original cute selves and the islands they’re located on will fill back up with color. It’s a pretty easy concept to work with and because of that, it’s really hard to find yourself getting lost in the game, which is always a plus. The worlds you explore aren’t very big, so you don’t have to worry about sailing to Timbuktu and back. If there’s ever a point where you can’t reach an area or your trusty boat can’t sail to, you can rest assured that with just a little bit more story progression, you’ll have everything you need to reach those hard-to-get spots. Again, nothing is too terribly difficult in this game as it’s not meant to be a struggle. It’s here to give you a fun and easy-going experience.
The “combat” system in the game will put you through a unique turn-based system that easy to learn and even easier to execute. I know the term “turn-based” has a tendency to turn people off, but I assure you, you’re not jumping into XCOM with this, it’s a very relaxed version of that combat style (also please note that the word “combat” is used very loosely here). As mentioned above, each character you collect will have a specific skill attack and 3 colors to toss out. The colors are unlocked by levelling up your friendship level with the creature by giving them gifts or feeding them fish gummies. The skill attack they have will be 1 of 5 different types, each of which will put you in a short minigame. From dodging spikes, to a slot game, and just general “hit the buttons in the right order”, succeeding in the minigames will determine how many colors you actually send out to your opponent. A flawless completion will of course send out the most, but make a few mistakes and you might find yourself sending out none. I actually enjoyed this aspect because while the game isn’t difficult, the combat does require you to use your brain a bit to plan out your attacks properly. If there’s a minigame you’re not to fond of or maybe aren’t the best at, you can complete the entire game without even using it, so you definitely have some freedom of choice with how you handle everything. The colors you use against your opponent will need to match their “health”, which is basically just a grid of symbols that you need to match your attacks to. These are revealed to you by choosing proper dialogue options when speaking to them and also by using creatures who’s passive ability is to in fact reveal these symbols. The game’s themes are heavy on friendship, kindness, and love, so of course those are the dialogue options you want to go for. The nicer you are, the better chance you have of winning, so just remember to encourage your foe and really, just believe in the better version of themselves. You do have the option to just be a complete jerk, but that won’t get you very far here.
With 80 creatures overall to collect, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from when you start getting into the heavier encounters. But that also means you’ll be spending some time actually finding them all. Along with the creatures, you also have “Thoughts” to collect. These are positive affirmations that turned dark after the Leviathan ruined everything and when you collect them, you can turn them into your boat for upgrades and rewards. This includes more attacks during battles, cosmetics, and fishing slots. There are 90 of these little guys to collect, so a total of 170 things to find, and while that may seem like a lot, it’s honestly not too bad. The islands you explore are small and even the more hidden ones can be easily located without feeling like you have to look under every rock and around every corner. The game does include a journal so you can see your progress through each area and if you’re missing anything, it’ll let you know. They won’t be marked on your mini-map, however, which can be a bit hit or miss with some gamers, but even without them being marked, I honestly didn’t find them to much of a pain to hunt down. It helps tremendously that you can use the creatures in battle and of course the Thoughts for upgrades, so you’re not blindly collecting items for “no reason”. There is a purpose to these, something I wish a lot of games would take note of. If you give the player a reason to do the task, it makes it far less stressful.
Overall, Rainbow Billy was far from a bad experience. I went into it expecting something cute and silly and that’s pretty much what I got from it, but it also ended up being far more enjoyable than expected. I didn’t expect to smile while playing so much, but definitely won’t complain about that happening. It did have a few technical issues here and there, but nothing game breaking or annoying enough to really put a damper on the experience. The autosave system in the game is quite forgiving so even if you have to reload the game, you don’t really have to replay much, if anything. I would like to see a multiple save file system added to the game as right now, it’s just one single save file. If you want to start over or start a fresh game, you actually have to go into your chosen console itself and delete the local save file to start over, so seeing a menu added that allows you to do that in game would be beneficial. I absolutely love when games add photo-mode and was thrilled to see it in this game, but I honestly didn’t really find myself stopping to take in the scenes too much as nothing really caught my eye in that way, but I can’t really put that all on the game design. I was admittedly distracted combing each island that by the time I got done with everything, only then did I remember about photo-mode. I’d rather blame my lack of attention span than the developers on that, so will gladly do so. If I’m not mistaken, this is ManaVoid’s first big game release and if this is their first impression, I really can’t wait to see what they give us next. Just a really well done and clean game.
- It’s as adorable as you think it will be, if not more
- The gameplay is catered to every gamer, no matter their age, and the learning curve for the combat system is light, majorly reducing the chances that you’ll get lost or confused as to what you need to do
- The collectible system is 100% rewarding, making finding all the creatures and Thoughts well worth it
- The maps are almost the perfect size, giving you a chance to explore everything without sending too far off the main path
- The mini-map only tracks one type of collectible (the gummie fish) so seeing that it’s possible to incorporate it, I would’ve liked to see the other collectibles possibly show up as well
- A lack of in-game save file management makes starting a new game a bit on the tedious side and only having one save file available removes the opportunity for multiple people to play at the same time
It’s just a genuinely fun game. You won’t struggle, you will smile, and just enjoy the hours of gameplay offered. Turn-based combat systems tend to get a lot of flack, but Rainbow Billy did it well enough where you don’t really feel that usual pressure of trying to make sure you don’t make any mistakes. It’s a game that isn’t out to punish the player, but rather give them a memorable experience, and I really do think that was executed very well.
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Game & Developer Information
Developer Website: ManaVoid Entertainment
Developer Socials: Twitter
Publisher Website: Skybound Games
Publisher Socials: Twitter
PSN Store Links: £19.99/€24.99 Europe / $29.99 North America
Trophy Information: 40. 1 / 2 / 5 / 48
Images provided via PressKit from ManaVoid Entertainment