The thing I enjoy most about Rudi Rainbow is how effortlessly it disproves Oscar Wilde’s theorem that discussing the weather “is the last refuge of the unimaginative”. Its delightful mini-games, refreshing veneer of scientific facts, and collection of criminally cute characters are wholly convincing of not only its recreational value, but also its pedagogical identity.
Technically speaking, Rudi Rainbow isn’t a game; it’s an interactive storybook app not unlike Mercer Mayer’s Just Grandma and Me. The difference is Rudi Rainbow has edutainment built into its DNA. Split into eight chapters, it encourages kids to help protagonist Rudi (a diminutive rainbow) find his missing colours after they’re blown away in a storm. Every ‘page’ exudes the charm of children’s classics like Spot the Dog, but reaps the benefits of digital interactivity: flowers instantaneously bloom from bushes, rubber ducks leap into swimming pools, and radios burst to life all at the tap of a finger. These wonderful extra touches truly jetset the imagination. Of course, Rudi Rainbow is more than just fun; Hello, November GbR and Slackhead Games’ passion for learning is reflected in the fascinating lessons about Antarctica, clouds, Jupiter’s 67 moons, and the formation of thunder and lightning (verified by professional meteorologists) that decorate your screen between the chapters, and six hands-on minigames beautifully woven into Rudi’s story.
Whether you’re helping Peter Polaris put constellations back together, or swiping rain droplets into Carl Cloud to ‘make it rain’, the on-screen mechanics are presented with exceptionally clear visuals (a cartoon hand simulates your task) so it’s incredibly intuitive for children to pick up. There’s also some light humour embedded in these educational expeditions. For instance, one lesson explains the different phases of the moon, but it’s disguised as a game: players are forced to make Mr. Moon jog around his orbit while resisting the greasy goodness of crackers, sushi rolls and pizza slices that inexplicably paint the sky! It’s genius. Each minigame you complete rewards you with one of the colours Rudi lacks, until you finally restore him to full technicolour.
Rudi Rainbow’s pastel aesthetic and gorgeous characters steal the show, and though the voice acting is solid, I would have enjoyed more phonetic variety instead of painting almost all the cast with the same vocal brush. The catchy, boppy soundtrack and matching sound effects create an atmosphere of joy throughout the whole story, which runs for the perfect length yet left me craving a sequel. It just goes to show that even literary greats can be wrong sometimes.
Rudi Rainbow is available through the App Store for $2.99.
This game is good, with a few negatives.
Outrageously adorable, Rudi Rainbow is an illuminating edutainment experience. Its brilliance lies in the use of colourful, imaginative characters who transform into digital professors, and successfully foster a love of learning in young children through play.