Let's face it; whenever Nintendo announces a new project, we all grow a little skeptical. With Nintendo creating games that are more accessible and aimed at casual gamers, hardcore types end up feeling more and more sidelined. It's for this reason that when Nintendo of Japan announced in July that it would be publishing Captain Rainbow, a quirky and bizarre game from Japanese developer Skip, many people rolled their eyes thinking that it would be another simple game aimed at 'casuals'. Little did we know that Skip was planning something a little different.
In North America, many gamers are familiar with Skip as the people who created the games Chibi Robo and Chibi Robo: Park Patrol. In Japan though, Skip has been involved in numerous projects that most North Americans are probably unaware of such as GiFTPiA and the bit Generations series.
Then we have this, Captain Rainbow, Skip's next project. Though it may not have the words 'Mario,' 'Pokemon,' or 'Zelda' slapped on it, that doesn't mean it's not worth your time. Captain Rainbow takes some of the forgotten characters in Nintendo's history and puts them all into one game. Similar to previous games developed by Skip, Captain Rainbow boasts vibrant graphics that give the title a unique feel.
In Captain Rainbow players take control of Nick, a boy coming from 'The Land of the Free'. Nick's alter-ego is Captain Rainbow, a yo-yo wielding hero. In the past, Captain Rainbow was a major super hero in Mameruca until his popularity died down. Nick decided to embark on an adventure to Mimin Island, a place where wishes are said to be granted. The problem is though, everyone who has gone to Mimin Island has yet to have their wishes granted.
While on Mimin Island, Nick meets up with a slew of lesser-known Nintendo characters, who also came to the island to have their wishes granted. One such character is Catherine (Birdo in North America) and she lives in a house referred to as the 'Cute House' on a separated part of the island. She came to Mimin Island to get her wish granted to be popular with the boys but got arrested instead. Nick, or Captain Rainbow for that matter, sets out to release her from jail and help get her wish granted.
Also on Mimin Island is Little Mac from the Punch-Out!! series. Mac's dream was to become the world champion once again, but it seems as though his weight is in the way. Other characters are Hikari from Shin Onigashima, Takamaru from Nazo no Murasamejo, the Famicom soldiers from Famicom Wars, Mappo, Tao, and Drake Redcrest from GiFTPIA, Lip from Panel de Pon, Tracy from The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Devil from Devil World, and Ossan from Famicom Golf, each of them present on the island for their own reasons.
The main objective of Captain Rainbow is to assist the citizens of Mimin Island. To do this, he must get their wish granted by bringing them to the top of the mountain. The catch is that you will need to form a strong bond with them by helping them with some of their day-to-day conflicts.
Scattered across the vibrant island are little stars that are actually the ears of dead Mimin natives, cute-and-cuddly rabbit-like creatures that can be tossed around. Once twenty of them have been collected, the island undergoes a rapid change, the skies turn dark and an event called Night of the Shooting Stars commences. The miniature stars join together to become a large star that must be taken to the summit of the huge mountain.
After a shooting sequence occurs at the peak, the game turns into an action game where Nick must fight off creatures known as Shadows, whose goal are to take possession of your large star. To prevent this from happening you must trek all the way up the mountainside, protecting the star with a partner whose wish you are about to grant. Players can toss the star between characters by simply pressing Z and must protect the star at all costs.
Like past games developed by Skip, Captain Rainbow puts a large amount of emphasis on puzzle solving and the day-night cycle. Some of the puzzles in the game require players to return to an area on a certain day, while others require the use of a yo-yo, Captain Rainbow’s main weapon.
Throughout the game, Nick can transform into Captain Rainbow simply by clicking a button. This will trigger a lengthy transformation but if you are impatient, you can easily skip over it. In the adventure portion of the game, Captain Rainbow can use his yo-yo to clear obstacles, such as boulders, in order to solve puzzles, whereas in the action portion, he can use them to defeat Shadows. Though Nick can also tackle the Shadows, he isn’t as fast as Captain Rainbow and his attack isn’t quite as powerful.
While it's hardly the deepest experience on the Wii, Captain Rainbow is one of the most bizarre games Nintendo has published in ages. From the game’s wacky graphics to the unique gameplay, Captain Rainbow has plenty going for it. The language barrier presents something of an issue, and it's worth bearing in mind that the game hasn’t been confirmed for a release outside of Japan, and may never be localized because of some of the content. Most of the game’s characters are of Japanese origin and have never seen the light of day in North America, which obviously causes some problems. However, Nintendo has taken a chance on quirky games before, so we can always hope for a worldwide release. In the meantime, if you're lucky enough to own a Japanese Wii then you should certainly try this out.