Title: Rainbows, Toilets, and Unicorns
Developer: Fantastico Studio
Publisher: Fantastico Studio
Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up, Shooter, Arcade
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 13/03/2020
Price: £6.29 / Rapid Reviews were very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
There are times when you just know a game is going to be great. When its by a studio you know and trust, or when it’s a title in a series you have played since you were a kid. Then, sometimes, there is a game that comes along that sells you on the title alone. This is one of those games. I mean, who hasn’t wanted to write Rainbows, Toilets, and Unicorns in a sentence before.
I had no idea about this title, but I knew from the name it was one I had to review. So how did it hold up? What sort of game is it? I didn’t know going into my playthrough and I think I have an idea now. I’m still not fully certain of it.
The game is … interesting. The soundtrack is ok, and to be honest at the time of writing this, a few days after finishing my playthrough, it is already long forgotten to my ears.
The visuals are colourful, yet simplistic, and utterly bizarre. From the crazy and creative sprite designs to the overtly sexual unicorns with their come-hither poses. They fit the name, look, and feel of the game perfectly. Almost like a tame version of something Terry Gilliam would have whipped up for the Python boys if they ever decided to make a Monty Python video game. (Note to self. Why have they never made a Monty Python video game?)
Rainbows, Toilets, and Unicorns is a SHMUP (Shoot ‘em Up). That much is clear. You are responsible for protecting something, I presume the world. The very first world sees you encounter everything from an army of charging priests, to fire-spewing buddhas, and angry Rabbis. Later levels see you come up against flying Japanese chefs, hipsters, vegans, and what even looks to be Donald Trump’s hair.
At the end of each level you are faced with an angry deity from varying denominations that assaults you with a barrage of attacks. As always, there are patterns to the game and the more you play the more you understand and the further you get.
There are also plenty of power-ups that would appear and at times you will be be firing more bullets than you know what to do with. Yes despite the frantic nature of the game, I never encountered any slowdown or drops in quality during my playthrough. The controls were also nicely responsive without being over sensitive.
What made the game difficult was the one-hit-kill and zero saves mentality. It was at times frustrating simply because everybody knows the screens get crazy with SCHMUPS and to offer neither health points nor a save point seems a tad mean. Then again, it is akin to the old school games such as Gradius which also operated on a similar, if not slightly better note.
There are not any collectibles in the game, not in the traditional sense of the word. In the classic spirit of a SHMUP there are power ups that you come across as you destroy the seemingly endless waves of enemies. Most of these seemed to stack on one another but all ran for a temporary period of time.
A game like this is designed to be replayed. It is not necessarily designed to be completed in a single sitting. There are 15 different end bosses and only the truly hardcore will make it all the way through. I could even argue that this game is not really made to be played to completion.
Why? Because it is a truly bizarre experience and in my mind one best played with a few mates, a few more beers and a takeaway of some description. Yes, you will replay it for a while but most likely not for any more than that one night. Perhaps possible at future reunions once the beer is flowing again and memories cast themselves back to ‘that game with the weird ass name’.
Rainbows, Toilets, and Unicorns is an interesting experience. It’s one I am glad I got to play, but it is not really one I would look to play again nor purchase off my own back. A fun game to play with a group but one destined to be forgotten. Maybe a shame, but the devs can take heart in the fact they created something different. Something that was brave enough to stand out from the crowd and push a few boundaries.
Rating this game was hard because of what it is and what it offers, but ultimately, there are other games out there that simply do it better.