Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Skybound Games
Developer: ManaVoid Entertainment
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan suffers from a very nice problem to have: it?s not really like anything else, which makes it a lot harder to describe. It may say that it?s a ?2.5D Adventure-Puzzle-Platformer?, but that doesn?t come anywhere close to telling you anything about the game.

See, Rainbow Billy isn?t really a puzzle-platformer ? 2.5D or otherwise. It?s got an overworld to explore (which often feels closer to 3D than 2.5D, seeing as you can rotate the camera in some places), but the platforming is basic, and the puzzles that exist ? and there aren?t very many of them ? are so simple, it hardly feels like they deserve to be called that.

Rather, the core of the game is that you explore islands on your ship ? named the Friend-ship, naturally ? looking for new friends to help you in your battle against the titular monster. In order to win them over, you need to defeat them in a turn-based battle in which you use the abilities of your existing friends in mini-games, and then their attributes are used to fill in shapes on the enemy?s health?card?thing. Oh, and you open up those shapes by having a dialogue with them and being empathetic.

Like I said, it?s not like much else, which makes it a lot harder to describe.

Visually, the game is pretty neat, too. It?s got a retro animation vibe to it, in the vein of Cuphead, but the characters and environments also look like cutouts, a la Paper Mario. It?s just one more way in which Rainbow Billy is unlike most other games. On top of that, the world is devoid of colour until you fill them up, so you get to see everything go from black and grey and white into full, vivid colour the further in you get.

Just about the only real complaint ? and it?s a very minor one ? is that it?s very easy. I?m a fan of easy games, but even I found there were times in which I would?ve liked there to be a bit of a challenge.

Mind you, being too challenging would go against the core of the game?s ideals. Remember up top where I said Rainbow Billy?s ship is called the Friend-ship? That?s really this game in a nutshell: it?s relentlessly sunny in the face of a grey world, and you only win by making the lives of your friends brighter.

Given we?re in the dead of winter as I write this ? after a few very difficult years, in the midst of yet another pandemic wave ? that?s the kind of message I can go for. Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan is a pleasant antidote to these times, and even if I can?t describe it, I know I liked it.

Skybound Games provided us with a Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-