For two years, Wholesome Direct has been breathing fresh air.Just before E3 2021, Wholesome Direct was on the other side of the enterprise scale, such as Microsoft and Nintendo. Exclusively featuring proprietary games, this stream had a much more inclusive and welcoming tone than many of the larger showcases on the horizon.
One of the games that really got a lot of attention in the one-hour showcase was Rainbow Billy: The Curse Of The Leviathan. Featuring an unusual combination of 2.5D art, platforms and creature capture mechanics, the game stood out in a showcase full of unique concepts. Above all, the colorful aesthetics and bright tones of the game helped to stand out as something special.
I recently spent some time with Rainbow Billy playing a short demo showing many of the game’s core mechanics. Rainbow Billy confronts its colorful world head-on and places Billy in a town full of adorable, visually dynamic characters. From here, you can collect fireworks hidden throughout the island and earn them in mini-games. This section was played like the title of a classic platformer in the late 90’s, channeling Mario, Banjo Kazooie and more.
Mini-games are simple and require the player to pick up an item from the ocean floor or press a button prompt at a specific time. This may be extended with a full release, but for now it’s enough to keep the early games interesting. My only real complaint in the platform section is that the 2.5D art style of the game can make it difficult to visually locate Billy. I found myself misjudging many platforms because I could easily tell where Billy was landing.
Now that all the rockets have been found, Billy’s main adversaries will be introduced. This is a great Leviathan that breathes in the world of all its colors. It’s shortly after this conference that Rainbow Billy introduces another major mechanic, the capture of creatures. More precisely, you meet many interesting characters along the way and Billy can persuade them to join his team. This mechanic mixes Pokemon capture elements with undertale passive persuasion and conversational battles. Instead of hitting and submitting a creature, you need to talk to it and persuade it to join you.
In an industry that often focuses on violence, playing games that focus on how nonviolence progresses is refreshing. Each creature is usually problematic or defensive on a particular subject, and it’s up to you to talk about them. This is done by two different things: listening and communicating. Once you’ve persuaded a creature to join your team, you can build more relationships with it by giving them items you find around the world. Building a relationship unlocks abilities that you can use during combat.
During the game’s platform segment, exploring creature capture, players traverse the ocean between islands in adorable tugboats. Care must be taken when traveling as there is a risk of running out of fuel between each area. This is not the most complicated way to move, but it serves as an easy way to move between two points. We hope the boat section opens up the possibility of exploring options in the full game.
The demo just briefly explains what’s coming up, but I enjoyed what Rainbow Billy offers. It’s certainly not the most complex and rewarding game, but playing something that doesn’t rely solely on violence is a breath of fresh air, as it’s the main way of interaction. I think the platform needs to be further refined, but this colorful adventure has already made a leap forward.
Rainbow Billy: Leviathan Preview Curse
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