Rainbow Islands: Towering Adventure bounces onto Xbox Live Arcade this week. Released back in May as WiiWare, this remake of the classic 1987 Bubble Bobble sequel has brand new features and game modes. This version of the cheerful vertical platformer still sees you taking on the role of Bubby or Bobby, the human form of well loved dragons Bubble and Bobble as they race to stop the evil Doctor Crescent from sinking the Rainbow Islands with his diabolical inventions.
Playing as Bub and Bob you can produce unlimited magical rainbows – but don’t be put off by the seemingly gentle nature of the game. These rainbows are both a hardcore one shot kill weapon and a platform that can be jumped on to to help work your way up through the levels. They only exist for a few seconds each, but as a timer counts down and the water level below is constantly rising bringing Doctor Crescent’s machines along with it, there is no time to waste. A mis-judged or badly timed jump can see you free falling back down a fair way, costing you valuable seconds.
Touching an enemy will also lose you time, 30 seconds of it, and once the time runs out it’s game over and you must start the level again. But to assist you in your quest, killing enemies with your magic rainbows will produce various power ups, some that increase the rate and range of fire, and gems that will add time to your clock giving you more precious seconds to make your ascent. Get to a certain height and the words ‘HURRY UP’ appear on screen, giving that delightful sense of urgency and haste as you frantically scramble up the last few feet to the next area.
Those of you who remember the original Bub and Bob may be disappointed to see that they are no longer the shorties of previous games and are looking rather like they got zapped by Willy Wonka’s TV teleporter and have had to be stretched. This does make them more Xbox avatar shaped though and you can play as your avatar in challenge mode or time trial. They don’t quite look right, and there’s a jagged outline around them, but it is still amusing to see your avatar conjuring up rainbows and hopping from platform to platform. Story mode can be played solo or cooperatively over Live, and you can race a friend from Earth to space competitively and track each others scores on the leaderboards.