Rainbow Islands Revolution for the Nintendo DS is basically the same Rainbow Islands that has appeared on countless consoles during the past 20 years, except that the controls and gameplay have been reworked to take advantage of the handheld's touch screen. What used to be a standard 2D platformer, with jump and attack buttons, has been transformed into something entirely new that uses the touch screen almost exclusively. The graphics, audio, and overall gameplay still come across as decidedly old school, but this touch-centric platformer does at least manage to revive a classic in a way that some people should find interesting.
Rainbow Islands Revolution is the classic arcade game remade with touch-screen controls.
Like most platform games, the goal in Rainbow Islands Revolution is to guide the main character to the furthest reaches of the screen while dodging and attacking enemies. Generally speaking, the furthest reaches of the screen are up, up, up. In the original game, you used a joystick to move the character around and pressed buttons in order to make him jump or unfurl a rainbow. Rainbows would knock out enemies on contact and could be used as steps to reach lofty platforms. In this Nintendo DS remake, all movements and actions are controlled using the stylus and touch screen. You drag your character, now stuck inside a bubble, using the stylus. There's no need to jump anymore because the bubble can float, but you still need to watch out for any enemies or spikes that may peck away at your character's health. Instead of pushing a button to cast rainbows directly in front of your character, you can now use the stylus to draw them anywhere on the screen. There are even special shapes that can be drawn to capture or vacuum up enemies.
The "boy in the bubble" motif doesn't really change the fact that all you're ever doing is avoiding enemies, grabbing power-ups, and pressing to the goal line, but it does make the game seem livelier than a typical old-school platformer. Between pulling the bubble through spiky tunnels and slashing rainbows across whatever enemies and power-ups appear, the stylus is always being put to use. Those power-ups mainly refill your rainbow meter and contribute to your score, although there are a couple of power-ups that can blast away all of the enemies on both screens. Some aspects of the game had to be tweaked to account for the new input method and the hero's transformation into a floating bubble boy, but these changes generally tend to work to the game's benefit. The time limits are longer, for example, and the bubble can now absorb multiple hits before popping. One especially sweet change is that all of the bosses at the end of each world have new attack patterns and require new strategies to beat. There are times when the touch screen doesn't respond fast enough, or it will mistake your attempt to drag the bubble as an attempt to draw a rainbow, but these instances are uncommon and rarely hazardous, thanks to all of the life points you'll usually have in reserve.