Day 191: Rainbow Ball into Adventure

Posted: 2011/05/19 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #191, and today’s game is “Rainbow Ball into Adventure”.

“Rainbow Ball into Adventure” is unabashedly inspired by the Katamari games, but it has some significant gameplay changes that really make Rainbow Ball into Adventure different (and, in my opinion, actually better). It was created together by an entire family, with the programmer’s children providing voice work and even hand-drawings for the game. There are even some mild (and possibly unintentional) educational aspects of the game, ones that (like the best educational titles) are as easily appreciated as they are ignored. All in all, this is an absolutely amazing game for 80 Microsoft Points and I’m surprised there’s so little chatter about it, and I’m happy to do my part to rectify that.

First, from the developer (Mike D Smith):

“A game made by a family! Fun for everyone! Grow bigger as you roll up numbers, shapes, bears, princesses, cats, fruit, mermaids, crabs, and other odd things.”

Like in Katamari, you roll a ball, making it bigger over time. You can always pick up small objects, but larger objects require your ball to hit a critical mass before they can be added to the pile. How does “Rainbow Ball into Adventure” differentiate itself then? The hand-drawn pictures produced by the developer’s children are likely to be heart-melting to anyone who has (or some day wants) kids. The level design has some interesting interactive elements: in one level you start with no objects in the environment that your ball can pick up, but each time you jump one is introduced and must be tracked down; in another all the objects are hovering in 3D space rather than just lying on the ground; in yet another, you have to traverse water; yet another is a psychadelic rainbow of colour.

Whereas in Katamari you were pushing a ball around, in Rainbow Ball you play AS the ball and you can jump and do manoeuvres that weren’t possible in Katamari. This changes up the gameplay in a way that ended up being more significant than I expected and really added to a feeling of freedom that I had always wished for when playing Katamari. As for that minor educational element I mentioned earlier, it would mostly be for small children and comes in the form of Mike D Smith’s kids calling out the names of some of the objects (perhaps most usefully letters and numbers) as you pick them up.

Gone is the zaniness of the Katamari games, replaced by the simply charm of children’s (and the young at heart’s) imaginations at play. The final product really gives you the feeling that Mike D Smith’s family had a heck of a time creating this game together, and that love shows through to the final product. I don’t know how I can recommend it more strongly than that.

Click here to download, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.

Know someone else who would want to read the review, or rate the game? “Share This” and invite them to.

  1. Matt Hunter says:

    Aside from the poor production value, this game was amazing.

  2. nli10 says:

    An amazing game, doesn’t seem to always save progress, but it really doesn’t matter. Brill for children of all ages.

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