Rainbow Islands Revolution (Nintendo DS) Review

By Mike Mason 03.06.2006

Review for Rainbow Islands Revolution on Nintendo DS

They're back - Rising Star are here once more to bring us another remake of a Taito classic. Now, if you remember previously, you might recall that they didn't do too favourably when casting their remake wands over Space Invaders or Bubble Bobble, so can they do differently here, with a remake of Bubble Bobble 'sequel' Rainbow Islands? Let's hope so...

Rainbow Islands was another of those big coin-op classics from way back, though it is often forgotten in favour of its older brother, Bubble Bobble. It was probably rightfully in the shadow of its predecessor, as, arguably, Bubble Bobble is a much better game, but that isn’t to say that Rainbow Islands was ever bad – far from it; it could be brutally difficult, but being bad is not something it could accused of. In case you’re unfamiliar, basically, you played as Bub or Bob of Bubble Bobble fame, only in their uncursed, human forms, and platformed your way vertically to the top of levels to take on the big bad bosses of seven islands, chucking arcs of rainbow out along the way to snatch up fruit and knock out enemies.

Some of this can be thrown out straight away with this remake. No longer do you leap about to your heart’s content. No longer do you have arcs of rainbow. Instead, you are trapped in a bubble and float about levels, guided with the stylus. Rather than rigid shapes of rainbow, you are free to draw them how you see fit (to a certain degree), also with your stylus. Fans of the original might be close to passing out at these changes, so allow us to reassure you a little: all of the levels and bosses are fully intact, at least in concept.

Screenshot for Rainbow Islands Revolution on Nintendo DS

The graphical style is still very cute, but it is different to the original – this time, Igusa Matsuyama of Harvest Moon fame takes the reins and delivers a different touch to the original characters. As such, Bub and Bob look like they might’ve stepped out of a portable version of the farming simulator, and the enemies unfortunately lose a lot of their personality, particularly those on Combat Island – the eyes of the redesigned enemies are less prominent, see. Still, overall, no harm done on the visual side.

This trapped in a bubble business, then – well, it’s different, to say the least. In fact, because of it, the platforms in the levels are no longer your paths to freedom at the end of the level; they become just another obstacle to keep you away from your goal. You tap, hold and slide to move your little guy around in his rubbery ball, and your job is to take him from the start to the end of the level without coming under harm. Enemies are struck down by swiping rainbows at them with the stylus, but obviously you cannot move and attack at the same time, so part of the gameplay revolves around quick thinking and strategy in finding a nice place to ‘park’ your character where they won’t get attacked while you dispatch enemies, and so that they don’t get swept off in the air streams that blow through the levels, trying to send you into danger. It may sound like quite a bit to consider, but it’s all pretty much common sense once you get into it.

A great idea is included with a 'gestures' system of sorts, wherein the player holds down one of the shoulder buttons to give their rainbows different abilities, such as being able to draw a circle around the enemy to paralyse them, allowing the player to tap, hold, drag and fling them at other creatures to gain the precious diamonds needed for your character to gain extra powers until the end of an island (unless they die). A star can also be drawn if you have enough rainbow 'ink' (a trait that may have been inspired by Kirby: Power Paintbrush, but one that is certainly needed to stop players going manic and killing everything on a screen in one stroke), which acts as a smart bomb and clears the screen of enemies, but this can be quite difficult to do.

Screenshot for Rainbow Islands Revolution on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


Although masquerading as Rainbow Islands, with all the imagery and much of the sound associated with it intact, it's quite clear that it's a different game altogether, one that is enjoyable but might've required some changes to make it better. Some people may want to bump this up to a 7/10, but as fans of the original, we find it preferable. If the game concepts had been fleshed out a bit more and it was put into a new series with no preconceptions, it might have turned out for the better, rather than the concepts being put into a game that already worked well as it was.




Rising Star


2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (2 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date TBA   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date TBA   


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