Rainbow Wars is a retro-style arcade shooter available as a free download for Windows, and it is one of those rare finds that becomes an instant favorite once you see it in action. Sporting similar controls to that of the classic Robotron, in which two joysticks are used to control movement and firing separately, this game captures the essence of a classic arcade experience in a well-developed albeit small package.
Just plug a standard dual-analog controller into the USB port for best results, or use the keyboard if you prefer. The game also supports two-player cooperative play for maximum, unparalleled fun.
There are infinite levels to Rainbow Wars that differ in the number of enemies and the frequency with which they spawn. Six (6) different enemies, each with its own specific behavior and attack, will spawn at various times and locations throughout each level. You are given three (3) lives to clear all the enemies from a level.
Two (2) special bombs (Vortex and Blast) are awarded at specific point intervals. Just pass over them to activate their power. Vortex creates a black hole that sucks everything but your ship into it for easy target shooting. Blast sends out an impressive shock wave that destroys everything in its path—except your ship, of course.
Bonus points are awarded at the end of a level for taking little or no damage. In addition to the end-of-level bonus, a score multiplier can be earned for each 100 enemies destroyed without losing a life. Once you get hit, the score multiplier resets back to 1.0.
Analysis: Rainbow Wars is a game that I just knew I would love the minute I got my hands on it. The tight and responsive controls and fierce fast-paced action are just the ticket for facilitating some very gratifying gameplay. Everything about this game screams retro arcade classic, my only complaint is that there isn't much to it. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, because for what Rainbow Wars offers it delivers in spades.
Luke Schneider, a designer at Volition (THQ), initially conceived and developed the game in a relatively short period of time (~60 hours) using GameMaker for an internal company presentation on rapid prototyping. It turned out so well that he was allowed to offer it to the world to play for free.
Download the free full version