TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Rainbow Six: SMOL’

I feel like I am in a fever dream right now. What is this game that I’m playing? It’s a Rainbow Six game? But it’s all cutesy, and cartoony, and also kind of psychedelic? How is this a real thing? Well, it’s no fever dream, it is indeed a real thing. It’s called Rainbow Six: SMOL and it’s a new Rainbow Six spinoff game for mobile from Ubisoft and it’s part of the Netflix Games library. It’s a weird, weird thing to be sure, but it’s also a lot of fun so far.

First off, despite its looks, this is very much a Rainbow Six game. Tactical special forces-style objectives abound, so expect to be breaching doors, taking out terrorists, rescuing hostages, diffusing bombs, and tons more. It all takes place from an isometric perspective and overall it’s a very streamlined experience compared to a proper Rainbow Six game, but that also means it’s very easy to play on the touchscreen and very easy to dip in and out of for brief or long sessions.

The objectives typically don’t take more than a minute or two to complete, but they’re no pushover either. Play smart, because just going in guns blazing with no sort of plan can and will get you killed. A roguelite element to Rainbow Six: SMOL is that once your character dies, they’re gone for good. Pick a new recruit and start all over trying to level this new one up. Thankfully your larger progression systems aren’t reset upon death, but losing a character that you’ve dumped time into can sting enough to make you be more careful.

Speaking of those larger progression systems: Holy moly. They are everywhere. So much stuff to upgrade, so many things to unlock, so many skill trees to fill out. It’s honestly quite staggering, and makes me think that at some point in time this was destined to be a free to play game, but since it’s on Netflix there’s no IAP shenanigans so really it’s just TONS of stuff to work towards.

The structure of the missions is really cool too, with multiple types of objectives open to you and then branching paths leading you to each next one. So for example you might choose from an assassination mission, a hostage rescue, or a bomb diffuser mission to start, and whichever you pick will lead to another set of options, and so on and so forth. It’s a fun way to mix things up, and like I said before it’s very conducive to playing for both short or long sessions depending on how much time you’ve got.

I’m still sort of in shock at just how odd Rainbow Six: SMOL is, and impressed at its very existence. The seemingly out of place visual style makes more sense after your first couple of missions, when an event happens that kind of qualifies all the absurdity in the game. Most importantly is that the gameplay is fun. I’m not sure how long that feeling will last through the game’s numerous and seemingly LONG progression systems, but right now I’m having a ball. A SMOL ball, if you will. If you have a Netflix account you should give Rainbow Six: SMOL a shot.

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