In 2012 a little game called Rainbow Moon came out. The Indie scene had just exploded, and many were excited to see what these small teams could really do. Old JRPG and Strategy RPG fans couldn’t have been more delighted with what Rainbow Moon brought, a long diverse and interesting game feeling more like a AAA game of old. So naturally when people like myself knew that a sequel, Rainbow Skies was being made, we watched for many, many years waiting for release, and now in 2018 our waiting has been rewarded.
Now I will put it out there early, this game is exactly what you wanted 6 years ago when you beat Rainbow Skies. It a new, more polished, shinier version of the gameplay, but the problem is 6 years have passed since then. This is going to potentially be an issue for people who are used to series that takes massive leaps in half decade gaps, and that is totally a reasonable expectation. The flip side is a lot of indie games take us back in time to older styled games, and Rainbow Skies feels very much like that, it’s just the sequel to another game like that, for better and worse.
Rainbow skies drops you in control of the character Damien, who starts off on one of the many flying community ships. Accompanied by his friend Layne, the team winds up encountering a mage, Ashly, who thanks to some plot beats I have completely forgotten, they wind up down on the world.
This is where I must confess, I have forgotten a lot of the games plot, which isn’t dissimilar to my experience of Rainbow Moon, which I can’t recall any of it’s plot despite having played 100+ hours of that too. Rainbow Skies has a lot of dialogue, which initially I was reading, but before long I was skipping pretty quickly. It’s not bad, it’s just long, and not why I’m there.
One of the biggest issues with the story is caused by another aspect of the game, it’s difficulty. Rainbow Skies, like Rainbow Moon before it, is hard, and as such you will pend a lot of time grinding. This is an issue for a story because it places big enough gaps between beats that you just wind up forgetting what or why it’s going on.
Now as I write out its critiques early on, I should note that this doesn’t make the game bad, far from it. I have had a great time with Rainbow Skies and can’t recommend it enough … for certain people.
The game is a very grindy, tactical RPG, which is perfect for people who like that, namely Disgaea fans and Rainbow Moon fans. The game is the perfect accompaniment to chilling on the couch watching TV or killing a few hours here and there. Though I should note, trying to use it to kill a couple of hours is dangerous, because that can easily turn into half a dozen hours when you get into the zone.
The tactical battles, for those unfamiliar with the genre, drops you on a grid with enemies, and you use your turn to move around the grid, launching attacks where possible. There is a lot of strategy involved, using attacks that hit certain types of enemies, or certain squares on the grid, and a bad move can be the difference between scraping through a fight or getting thumped.
It’s turn based battles are absolutely refined to a masterclass of it’s genre, though thanks to some difficulty spikes that come swift and punishingly, you will need to grind a lot. So, I hope you enjoy that combat. That makes the game absolutely perfect for the Vita (and hopefully one day the Switch) because picking it and putting it down is just so easy, especially with the long-haul grinds as you watch Scrubs DVD’s for the umpteenth time.
The game is a absolute treat to look at aswell. With gorgeous hand drawn characters and background that look stunning on the Vita and PS4 alike. Bright and colourful environments absolutely pop on the screen and make those grindy hours so much more enjoyable.
If you are weighing up getting Rainbow Skies, let me boil it down for you. Do you enjoy grid based tactical battles enough to grind through dozens of hours of them to level up your characters for bosses? If the answer is yes, then like me, this game is absolutely for you. If you aren’t sure, it really is worth a punt because Eastasiasoft has done a wonderful job crafting this gem over the years.
Blair received a code for Rainbow Skies for review