Review: Rainbow Islands

Rainbow Islands

ST Format Review

My Review

For this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STFM, running TOS 1.04. On this occasion I’ve chosen Pompey Pirates 26. It’s a decent enough intro, and a very strong disc given it somes with Bubble Bobble.

So, that loading screen. Holy fuck. So colourful, so beautifully drawn, perfect use of dithering – from a distance on a normal monitor it looks like it has hundreds of colours, I can only imagine with CRT colour bleed it had a similar effect. Fuck yeah.

A simpler screen next, with the palette cycling to give simplistic animation. The speed of the cycle however makes it look really psychadelic.

Onto the map screen, which players of Super Mario will be familiar with, and the chip music starts. Onto the game.

Look at those massive colourful sprites! Animation is insanely smooth. The game only scrolls vertically which helps a lot and backdrops are mostly solid colour which also helps, but it’s still an impressive technical feat with fantastic art direction. So, time to collect fruit.

For those who don’t know, the big gimmick is rainbows. You can fire them, trapping your enemies, and you can use them to build ramps to otherwise inaccessible locations. Movement in general is solid, with a good quality jump (and we all know how much that matters in platformers – so many ST games learned NOTHING from Mario).

If you dawdle for too long the music speeds up and water starts filling the level. There’s no timer visible so I’m not entirely sure how it calculates this, but it’s enough to add a bit of tension to the game, though it was a little annoying when I was poking and prodding the game.

It seems to me that, like Super Mario World, the mechanics allow for a very high skill ceiling. The way rainbows can be used, thrown when in mid-air for instance, allows for some really interesting ways to traverse the level. My only possible critique is that it might have been nice to have more space to use all this by having some horizontal movement too, though no doubt this would have been less smooth on the ST.

I ended up playing it quite a bit last night, didn’t get screenshots as I was just busy having a good time, but it’s a fantastic little game, with a nice level of challenge.

So, long story short, if you’ve not played it, get on it. It’s an absolute cracker, built with love, with beautiful graphics and fantastic platforming mechanics which allow some truly joyful traversal of its world.

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