Rainbow Skies Review- A Long, Mostly Enjoyable, Grinding Road

Posted July 10, 2018 by Thomas James Juretus in Video Games

Developer: SideQuest Studios

Publisher: Eastasiasoft

Release date: June 26, 2018

Available on: PS3, PS4 (reviewed), Playstation Vita

In development for five years, Rainbow Skies is the indirect sequel to the 2012 game Rainbow Moon. While there is much in common with its predecessor, Rainbow Skies does enough different to make itself stand apart from the earlier game. The story telling retains the same sly sense of humor, and the turn based combat returns as solid as ever. This time around, we get the addition of monster raising and collecting. The monsters can be trained and upgraded the same as the three main characters, and add another layer to the gameplay. While that in itself is nothing new, the game does do things just differently enough to keep it from being a clone of other similar RPGs. Add a very lengthy campaign and the fact that you get the game across all three of Sony’s platforms, and you get something well worth your money.

That being said, be forewarned that Rainbow Skies is a very grindy game. While that is typical of many turn based RPGs, difficulty spikes do make this a bit more than may be to some players’ tastes. As of writing this review, I have nearly 83 hours into the game, and yet have only 59% of the main story line complete. So, yeah, this game is a huge time sink. On the plus side, once you do finally conquer those difficulty spikes (and there are a few), the progression of the story is satisfying enough to make it worth the time you put in. Another plus is you will get your money’s worth out of the game, as it retails for $29.99 (USD) and it delivers well over 100 hours of gameplay. For those who enjoy the grind, this will be a must buy.

The story is a little convoluted, but told in a humorous fashion. It centers around three main characters- Damion and Layne, from the floating world of Arca, and Ashly, a magic user who dwells on the moon Lunah, which sits below Arca. Damion and Layne have a mishap that causes them to fall to Lunah, only to be ensnared by a binding spell cast by Ashly. The three then travel Lunah in order to find a way to release the spell, so they can go their separate ways. Along the way, naturally, are all sorts of dangers, towns and dungeons to explore, and monsters to fight. And there is some time traveling involved. Just your typical RPG tale, though this one doesn’t take itself too seriously. Which works well for the game.

The turn based combat will be familiar to anyone who has played the older Final Fantasy titles. Skills are unlocked and acquired as you level up, as well as by learning books of magic obtained from vendors. Your equipment can be upgraded by the blacksmith found in most towns, provided you have the materials necessary. Materials are often acquired from combat, but can also be purchased and found in treasure bags and chests across the world. These materials can be sold for needed coin if you wish, as there are times healers can drain your wallets, especially after a lengthy series of battles. The nice thing is the choice is yours, and you can adapt your strategy to find your own particular brand of play style.

New to Rainbow Skies is the addition of monster raising and training. Eggs can be acquired in battle from the various monsters, which you can take to a monster trainer to hatch and train for use in your party. You’re limited at first to how many eggs and monsters you can have at first, so you’ll have to weigh the strengths and skills of each monster to see what would best fit in your party. Monsters level at a faster pace than the three main characters, and getting extra turns during a battle can easily turn things in your favor. Those extra turns especially help when faced with a large amount of enemies. Different buffs, such as for speed and strength, also help in these situations.

Those difficulty spikes can definitely put a damper on things, as they bring any momentum you had going forward to a full stop to engage in grinding. Early on is not too bad, as you level up at a decent rate. But once you start hitting the higher levels, especially over 30, it takes a very large amount of experience points to reach the next level. In between you need to maintain your supplies and cash flow. Doing a side quest here or there can help in this regard, but sometimes later in the game you’re in a section where you can’t go back at that moment. A simple fishing mini-game can also help here, as the fish can be sold for much needed coin. Both the fishing and grinding can get highly repetitive, so your tolerance of that will determine your enjoyment.

The fixed camera can also be problematic in spots, as it can obscure treasure or an enemy lying in wait. The map is generally unhelpful, and though there is limited fast travel through portals (which need to be unlocked with a crystal, and even then don’t go everywhere), you’ll be hoofing it back and forth quite a bit between the closest merchant and whatever dungeon you’re at to resupply. It does force you to explore, which can be rewarding at times. But the option of simply going to the map and fast traveling back to a village, a la Skyrim, would have been greatly appreciated here.

In all, Rainbow Skies is a fairly enjoyable, old school turn based RPG that goes a long way with its charm, despite some flaws. The grinding won’t appeal to everyone, but for those who don’t mind the time sink will find an amusing story with likeable characters and a colorful, vibrant world. There is plenty to do in the game, giving you a good bang for your buck. The monster raising/collecting adds a nice touch to the formula done so well in Rainbow Moon, and it can be fun seeing which monsters work best within your party. It may be a long grinding road to reach the game’s end, but the journey is entertaining enough to make it worth diving into. And it’s on the journey alone that I can recommend this game. Now time to restock, heal, and kill more monsters on the way to the end of the road.

About the Author

Thomas James Juretus