One day I was browsing Twitter and stumbled upon a wonderful video posted by Fantastico Studio. In it, I saw wonderfully vibrant scenes filled with interesting characters that looked familiar. It was Rainbows, Toilets & Unicorns. Immediately I knew this was a game I needed to play. Fast forward to today, and I have the privilege of playing it prior to release. This vertical shmup is sure to catch your eye and I bet you will add it to your wishlist. I’ve read that once the first update is released it will support Tate mode but for now, it’s locked to normal handheld mode. Let us jump in the pilot seat and begin.
Holy crap Batman! this is fast.
Without regard to the player, the game begins immediately. No difficulty settings, no character select, no countdown. GO! I’m not sure what is expected but controls are self-explanatory at this point. Use the joystick to move the only character available, then use the A button to shoot. Fill your sparklebarf meter by collecting gems from downed enemies. One thing I DO know, if you pause the game the very noble countdown starts: 3-2-1 and then the game begins. These Dev’s obviously took notes from relevant shmup players because this feature is very considerate. We LOVE this and hope it’s added for every future shmup.
How could I speak on anything other than the colours present on my screen? I don’t know how Fantastico Studio can get such bright colours that catch my eyes so easily but they did it. I’m both distracted and amazed. I wish more games had such great colour schemes but I digress. Gosh, everything moves so fast. Each and every moving object has a big presence because of their chosen palette. Contrast is a wonderful thing and it shows with this shoot ‘em up. Enemies, their shots, and backgrounds are all easily identifiable. It’s very commendable to allow players to point out this and that with ease.
I’ve been easily distracted by the great looks of this game and now move on to the satisfaction of shots. I bet it would feel a whole lot better if enemies and gameplay slowed down. I don’t think a speed option would be beneficial over slowing down the speed of both enemies and the playable character. With all the hard work that went into making this game it should be enjoyed. I volunteer for this Dev’s next QA testing position. I bet it’s fantastic working for this company. Back to the game, to sum things up? Shots are not satisfying. That is a massive flaw in my book but with that being said, it can be improved. Adding multiple characters, or similar like Danmaku Unlimited 3, a focused movement.
I have often said that boss battles are the most important parts of STG games but can you blame me? Prove any other portion of the game to be as relevant and we can agree on something. Until then? Boss battles prevail. These fights are what makes the game, as things slow down in terms of movement and increase in terms of value. Backgrounds move faster during normal gameplay and decrease during owner encounters. The end of area bosses are always worth a laugh whether it be that blue-haired infamous gamer, an Instagram model taking selfies, or a number of silly characters.
Being a fan of upgrades I must mention the enhancements offered. Gun upgrades of course are lovely, magnets are nice, and the shield does wonders for this one but kill system. Upgrades can be stacked and lost when you take a hit. Once any gun upgrade is obtained it seems you can just sway from one side of the screen to the other without much difficulty. This brings the fun down sadly and is another area that could be improved.
Enemies take on the form of many people and that is a large draw for me. At first, the advertisements made me think it was going to be buzz folks of the internet in a belly laugh way, and to my amazement I was right! Priests, buddhas, and Putin. I don’t know the correct follow-up to that sentence but it should sell you on this game. This is just the first stage so everyone is in for a real treat once they progress. Five worlds contain a slew of these laughable enemies and even have inanimate objects such as the “like” thumbs up.
It took three continues to realise this game is a one-hit kill scenario. Granted the first two deaths took a long time but still, I was figuring this out in real-time people. I know the Twitterverse is in love with 1CC games which to my knowledge means to beat the game without dying. Apparently, it’s possible. For the world’s fun, I would suggest adding more difficulties. Add an introduction that explains the game and everyone would be better off. In the very least put the controls in the pause menu for reference and manipulation.
Rainbows, Toilets & Unicorns is a wonderful looking shmup that is sure to attract not only fans of the genre, but also any person that enjoys positive colour schemes. It has a modern sense of humour that is relevant and funny. Controls and progression have some snags but I bet the developer will fix them along with their own planned improvements.
Review code provided
Platform: PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 13/03/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Shooter, Arcade
Publisher: Fantastico Studio
Download link: eShop