Review: Rainbow Skies (PlayStation Vita)

Rainbow Skies: Official GBAtemp Review

PlayStation Vita 3,571 views 3 likes 5 comments
Reviewed by Prans Dunn, posted Jun 26, 2018
Jun 26, 2018
  • Release Date (NA): June 26, 2018
  • Release Date (EU): June 27, 2018
  • Publisher: eastasiasoft
  • Developer: SideQuest Studios
  • Genres: RPG
  • ESRB Rating: Teen
  • PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
  • Also For: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
The developers behind Rainbow Moon are back with a new fantasy role-playing game: Rainbow Skies! This title is quite the oddball as it is being simultaneously released for the PS4, PS3 and PS Vita and supports cross-save. Let’s take a look at how it fares!
Prans Dunn

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Up In The Skies

Up in the sky is Arca, a flying town of sorts, whose inhabitants have been brought up to believe that the earth below is inadequate for survival. And today is a special day for one of Arca's resident's, Damion,  for it is his final examination as a monster tamer, an important job in his home town, which is under perpetual monster outbreaks. However, having partied a little too much the night before, the prospective monster tamer fails his examination and on top of that destroys the entire monster compound! His examiner feeling partly to blame for these mishappenings, they set out together in an attempt to right Damion's spectacular wrongdoings. In an entirely unforeseen fashion, the situation deteriorates rapidly, resulting in both characters falling to the toxic land below. 

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Surviving the fall, they discover themselves bound to each other; the result of an apprentice earth-dwelling spellcaster named Ashly. To lift this curse of sorts, they set out on an adventure across these new lands, soon to find themselves amidst its politics and struggles.

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Down To Earth

Rainbow Skies is somewhat of an oddity for its simultaneous PS4, PS Vita, and PS3 release. You read that right! A brand-new PS3 RPG game in 2018! The game even features cross-save across each device, allowing you to play on your home console of choice, and carry on where you left off on the go with the Vita. It's as close as you'll get to the Switch from Sony! The version being reviewed here is for the Vita, and as such my views and any screenshots will be representative of this. On that note, I have to say the graphics are adequate for this platform; its cartoonish aesthetic standing out well on the smaller screen, largely reminiscent of the series' previous entry Rainbow Moon. While it looks fine here, I struggle to think how it might scale up onto a TV. Imaging this image on a PlayStation TV is one thing, but the PS4, and the 4K resolution available on the PS4 Pro is another. 

The bright and vibrant art style puts across an aesthetic to match the general light-hearted mood of the game, characters finding fun in breaking the fourth wall and taking time to joke with their opponents. The plot itself put forward some interesting and unique characters across a plethora of varying environments. It felt original, and the recurring light-hearted mood allowed me to enjoy the game for what it is, and not take it all too seriously. While I came to appreciate much of the game's storytelling, I found myself put off by the voice acting included. In oppose to voicing full sequences of dialogue, some NPCs simply have generic lines thrown in every so often. I ultimately feel this poorly done, and that the game would have done better without them.

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Looking to the gameplay, Rainbow Skies relies heavily on its exploration and battles to keep you engaged as your party moves from area to area. In true RPG fashion, you can accept numerous side quests to better acquaint yourself with the world's inner workings, and be rewarded nicely for your efforts. With the game's difficulty being configurable, it puts no pressure on you to play these should you wish to simply enjoy the main questline. If you find yourself struggling, altering the difficulty to get more XP from battle encounters is always an option. The battles themselves are turn-based on an isometric map, with each character having their own set of actions and attacks. If you've played Disgaea or any similar game, you'll feel right at home here. Each character is permitted two actions per turn, this adding a layer of challenge by forcing the player to balance offence and defence. 

As the game progresses, the battles naturally become more and more challenging; so much so that you may find yourself having to rely on the classic grind before clearing certain enemies from your path. While the environments are diverse as you progress through the game, the battle maps can soon grow tiresome. This is particularly noticeable if you find yourself in the same area for an extended period of time, the same battle map coming up time and time again. 

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Something I wasn't expecting from a PS Vita game was your characters' in-game aesthetic to change with their equipment. The actions in-battle are also animated, the magic skills in particular showing off unique sequences. While I did enjoy them at first, I soon found myself irritated by the lack of ability to disable them. In some of the later battles, it felt as though they served no function beyond prolonging an already lengthy encounter. It's unfortunate; you can clearly see the effort put into these, comparatively more than how players would react to them for the full length of the game.

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I also found myself appreciating the intricacies of the battle system. Approaching an enemy on the map, you'll see the number of enemies in your encounter as a colour-coded difficulty level; red being difficult and green being easy. I found it useful in deciding whether I really wanted to open a treasure chest surrounded by 21 enemies, or just carry on with my mission.

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As you progress in the game, you unlock the ability to breed and level up a reasonable variety of monsters, and add them to your party. I found it a fun and largely interesting mechanic, providing some fresh and original changes to a thoroughly tried and tested genre. The game also features smaller mini games to try, including turn-based fishing, and a Wheel of Fortune-esque chance game. While none of these feel particularly revolutionary, their inclusion is great to see.

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Closing

Rainbow Skies is a good game to tackle if you've been looking for a light RPG to play with some fresh additions and original plot. While I can't speak for the PS3 or PS4 versions, I can strongly recommend the PS Vita version; the game's genre and aesthetic well-fitting a handheld system. 

 

Verdict
Pros
+ Original plot
+ Fun monster-breeding mechanic
+ Cross-save across devices
Cons
- Slow progression
- Grinding
- Lengthy battles
- NPC voice acting
7 Presentation
The cartoon-like aesthetics might not be to everyone's taste but it does fit in the general vibe of the game.
7 Gameplay
A solid turn-based RPG with a fun monster-breeding addition but the battles can get lengthy and the need to grind eventually downs the score.
8 Lasting Appeal
You can easily sink in a considerable number of hours in Rainbow Skies with its main quest alone and if you factor in its massive number of side quests and explorations, you can count in even more.
7.5
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
A light and fresh title that's a good enough reason for you to dust off your PS Vita and tackle it at your ease.
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