Reviews

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan Review

rainbow billy switch review

When it comes to Paper Marioesque games the Nintendo Switch’s library is sorely lacking.

While we did get Paper Mario and the Origami King last year, I found that it had lost a lot of the roots of what made the series so popular and enjoyable to begin with. The switch also has Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling which I enjoyed for a little while and then found it got too repetitive and sadly stopped playing it.

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan is a game created by the team over at ManaVoid Entertainment and published on Nintendo Switch by Skybound Games. Rainbow Billy is a 2.5D action-adventure platformer game with RPG elements that reads to me, Paper Mario!

The early screenshots and trailers made it very apparent to me that the developers were trying to capture the Paper Mario feel along with some Wind Waker aesthetics sprinkled in (look at the water, it definitely reminds me of Wind Waker).

Enough reminiscing about past Paper Mario games, let’s help Billy bring color back to the world of Imagination.

What Rainbow Billy is

Rainbow Billy’s tale starts in the Star Harbor with you controlling our named hero who is tasked with retrieving some fireworks for a celebration.

Scissow needs 12 Rainbow Sparklers which are scattered around the Harbor. Collecting all 12 introduces a bunch of the game’s various mechanics such as fishing, mini-games, platforming, and using the item shop.

rainbow billy switch review 2021
After collecting all 12 Rainbow Sparklers, returning to Scissow will allow you to start the Star Parade. All doesn’t go according to plan as during the event, the skies begin to turn gray and the Leviathan awakes from his slumber from down below and sucks all the color from the world of imagination.

The world is then cursed by the Leviathan scattering the color orbs to 3 distinct lands and also forcing Billy to awake from his delusions and the world for how it really is.

What you should know about Rainbow Billy

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan is rated E and my playthrough lasted just over 10 hours. I didn’t 100% game as there were still friends for me to find and thoughts to collect after I finished. A full completionist trek through the world of imagination will take some players upward up to 15-20 hours.

Very early on the game sets up that Billy doesn’t have a perfectly colorful past and that this adventure will deal with some of those issues, especially around listening and understanding others.

One of the key aspects of Rainbow Bill is dealing with empathy, listening, and having conversations, which ends up being a big part of the games’ combat system.

rainbow billy switch review 2021

CNN even featured a piece on these topics which can be viewed here. You’ll have to hunt down 3 color orbs in 3 separate lands. Each of these lands has many small islands to explore, secrets to uncover, and fish to catch.

Conquer the boss at the end and you’ll be able to recover the missing orb.

Why you should play Rainbow Billy

One of the aspects when creating a Paper Mario-inspired system is to have a fun, clever, and engaging combat system. Rainbow Billy has a very unique combat system but it can get exhausting at times, especially during some of the talking scenes.
All in all, the combat sequences are purposeful. You are looking to listen to the enemy and understand their issues in order to re-color them and become friends.

You’ll need to acquire friends in Rainbow Billy and the more friends the better as each friend has the potential to re-color one of 3 shape/color combinations when battling.

For a game that looks quite simple out the outside, the combat actually has a lot of depth.

rainbow billy switch review 2021
You are presented with a random selection, you can re-draw a friend at the cost of one turn point, of the characters whom you have befriended in the form of cards/coins.

From the selection presented you can pick which friends are going to do battle and align them properly on the battlefield grid with proper color/shape move selected.

Instead of just timing your weapon as it hits an enemy, you play a mini-game. These minigames range from a slot machine, games of pong, or time-based button sequences. The more friends you have in a row the harder the mini-game is. If you complete the minigame without failing or missing any commands you will re-color the full amount of selected shapes.

Some may find it repetitive as the game progresses, but there is a great deal of strategy and planning involved to make sure you have the correct shapes/colors and in the proper rows. I enjoyed it and found it to be a refreshing twist on a tried and true combat system.

One thing I noticed very early on is that this game is gorgeous.

The bright and vibrant colors really pop on my Nintendo Switch OLED model. The water in Rainbow Billy definitely reminds me of Wind Waker. Speaking of the Legend of Zelda series, exploration and dungeons is another core pillar of this game that I quite enjoyed.

The sailing aspect is reminiscent of Wind Waker as well. Using your Tugboat you will traverse from island to island. The Tugboat also allows you to turn in thoughts for upgrades, see all the friends you have met, interact and build your relationship with them, and buy finding items they request.

You can also give your friends snacks that you fish up from the sea.

rainbow billy switch review 2021
Lastly, the soundtrack in Rainbow Billy is fantastic. Early on the melodies are catchy and fit the vibe of the game. The standout is the Orchestrated track with vocals during the final sequences of the game. Not only was that a nice touch and really well done, but it helps with setting the tone and scene.

Why you shouldn’t play Rainbow Billy

Sadly I have to report that Rainbow Billy does suffer some performance and technical issues on the Nintendo Switch.

Sometimes during the platforming areas, the camera doesn’t follow Billy properly and can make these sections more challenging than they need to be.

There were also a few occasions where I experienced strange technical issues. Once when I was in a battle sequence the game seemed to stop responding.  Another time later, I seemed to have fallen out of the world into black nothingness.

I also ran into this strange one which I posted on Twitter. I pointed out all of my issues to the developers and hopefully, a patch is in the works to address these problems.

 

There is a lot of dialogue, and I mean A LOT. Every friend you meet to recruit, every thought, and NPC has several lines.

As I progressed the sheer amount of dialog simply became exhausting.

Listening is a key pillar of the game’s combat system but there needs to be a way to make these dialog sections more concise and engaging. Voice acting, while costly, might have helped Rainbow Billy.

For some Nintendo Switch gameplay footage Rainbow Billy, checkout out our gameplay showcase on YouTube. That’s it for me, let us know what you think and if you are planning on picking up Rainbow Billy The Curse of the Leviathan.

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