I never got the chance to play Rainbow Moon, the acclaimed indie RPG from SideQuest Studio, but I’ve just lost twenty plus hours into the indirect sequel Rainbow Skies. Like its predecessor, Rainbow Skies is a fantasy role-playing game with turn-based battles. Do you think I’d spend over twenty hours on a game that wasn’t any good? I am a professional, after all, but no, I probably wouldn’t. Keep reading and I’ll tell you what to expect in this old but new RPG.
The story of Rainbow Skies goes something like this: The main hero of the game is a spiky-haired boy named Damion. Damion wakes up late and hungover from a night of hardcore drinking before the biggest test of his life. (Side note: I actually have a big-haired son named Damian who has, on occasion, complained of similar hangover-like symptoms. Weird, right?) The boy administering the test is Damion’s know-it-all “friend” Layne.
This test of Damion’s manhood goes predictably wrong and the two boys are thrust together and forced on an epic journey. As bad goes to worse, the two boys fall from their world in the sky to the mysterious land below. On that mysterious land, we meet a scantily clad young lady named Ashly practicing the spell of “bind’. It turns out she’s not very good at casting spells and accidentally binds herself to the two boys as they fall to this new and strange world. Now, stuck together and not getting along, this new threesome sets out for someone to help unstick them. As you’ve probably already guessed, Damion, Layne, and Ashley soon begin to bond and eventually stumble on a much more serious quest. That is the story in a nutshell. It’s not breaking new ground, but it didn’t get in the way either.
The game looks great. The artwork is fantastic, and the world is full of beautiful locales, interesting characters, and varied monsters. The characters are about what you’d expect from a fantasy RPG in a post-Final Fantasy world. The hero has the prototypical spiky hair, and his love interest is sweet and innocent and just so happens to dress like a stripper. The dialogue is hoky, and most of the time it goes on too long with jokes that only seldom land. You can skip most of it and speed through what you must read, thankfully. There are also a few grammar mistakes, but who hasn’t missed a few commas–I’m not here to judge. Well actually, I guess I am. Anyway, I did like the running joke about Damion’s spiky hair being silly. I also love when a game changes how the character looks when you find some new gear. Whether it’s just a stupid bandana, hat, or a cool piece of armor, it helps pulls me in when I can see my in-game character walking around with the new gear. Sometimes it’s the little things.
Rainbow Skies is an indie RPG, but they didn’t skimp on much of anything. The world is huge and the items, spells, gear, upgrades, etc, are seemingly endless. It may not be Skyrim-level deep, but there is nothing shallow about Rainbow Skies. Grinding is part of all games of this ilk, and Rainbow Skies is no different. Grinding may have a negative connotation, but that doesn’t have to be the case, and I’m happy to say that over twenty hours in, killing monsters, finding new gear and upgrading still has me coming back for more.
How are the battles, you ask? Well, they are turn-based with a fair share of strategy tossed in. They didn’t reinvent the wheel obviously, but it’s smooth, interesting to watch, and seldom tedious. Each player’s turn has a certain amount of moves where that character can move about the board, use an item, or attack with a weapon or spell. You’ve done it before, but like I said, it performs well. In other words, it’s fun and not boring. My least favorite part of the battles is it took me almost 9 hours of play before I finally stopped accidentally moving my character in the wrong direction.
About two or three times an hour I would waste one move by pressing up on the directional pad because I wanted my guy to move one spot up, only to realize too late that I needed to press sideways on the pad. The way the board sets up, it doesn’t always correlate perfectly with the direction on the controls. It wasn’t a huge deal, as most of the battles were pretty easy back when I was still screwing that up, but it’s not ideal. It all can be avoided by checking closely before you press the button, but when you get in a zone, well, you know how it gets. I’m happy to say it’s all second nature now.
As you walk around the world, you’ll see monsters that you’ll have to fight and kill to get past. You wander close to them and the battle will start. There are also random battles that you can simply ignore if you want to. This technique keeps the pace flying, and as a gamer with a hundred other things to do, I applaud that.
If you have a PS Vita, I’m happy to say that if shell out the cash for Rainbow Sky, you’ll get the Vita and PS3 version as well. That includes a cross-save feature, and I freaking love that. I’ve played several hours on the PS4, but with the handy cross-save feature, I’ve spent most of my time with this title on the Vita. It’s perfect for those short bursts of gaming time that pops up during a busy day. I never made the time to test out the PS3 version, but it looks and plays great on both the PS4 and PS Vita.
I’m probably looking at over 40 hours to complete my playthrough. That includes a few side quests but mostly just the main quest. If you feel the need to clean up on this one, you’ll be looking at up to a hundred hours of questing. The folks at SideQuest Studio have delivered a full-fledged Fantasy RPG that triggered my fond memories of grinding through the Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy series way back in the day. If you love those old school RPG’s, or just simply like an indie game that doesn’t cut any corners, then I think Rainbow Sky will not disappoint. It certainly didn’t disappoint me.
Rainbow Skies PS4/PS Vita Review
Overall - Fantastic - 8.0/10
Rainbow Skies may have an indie game pricetag, but the game is packed full of all of the things you know and love from an old-school RPG. The story may not be the greatest, but it looks and plays great, and there is enough here to keep you busy for tens of hours. The cross-buy and cross-save feature make it all even better. Blow the dust off of that Vita and give this one a try.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4 and PS Vita.
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When Jeremy isn’t writing books or playing video games, he’s living his life one random movie references at a time.