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Rainbow Six: SMOL - NETFLIX
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This Muppet Babies version of Rainbow Six is the best mobile game I’ve played in the last year

This Muppet Babies version of Rainbow Six is the best mobile game I’ve played in the last year

4K View2024-02-24

SHOULD I PLAY RAINBOW SIX: SMOL?

This is a genuinely baffling question. On the one hand, Rainbow Six: Smol is a (deliberately?) upsetting mash-up of children’s illustration styles and Tom Clancy’s concept of state-sanctioned murder being extremely fun and cool. On the other hand, it’s also an extremely fun mobile game that is unsullied by the usual need to constantly push microtransactions. If you’ve got a Netflix account and can look past the jarring thematic dissonance, Rainbow Six: Smol is definitely worth checking out.

TIME PLAYED

I played about two hours of Rainbow Six: Smol, which was enough time to complete several “operations” or complete runs. I started each one with a fresh operator, selected a province to deploy into, and then followed a string of missions until either I completed the operation or my operator died. I leveled up a couple of my recruit classes to give them better starting gear and unlocked several books of power to add new abilities to the upgrade pool and add favorite Rainbow Six characters to my base camp. According to the progress tracker (which I unlocked with a book of power), I’m about twenty-two percent through the campaign.
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WHAT’S AWESOME ABOUT RAINBOW SIX SMOL?

• No microtransactions. While I needed an active Netflix account to login to Rainbow Six: Smol, the game was free of any microtransactions or the constant nagging to encourage me to check out a shop where I could spend real money. That stuff just isn’t in the game, and what do you know, it’s way more fun because of that. When a game exists mainly to sell items and boosters, you end up with game mechanics designed to push those purchases rather than delighting its players. Rainbow Six: Smol is a great example of the alternative: It’s a game that’s meant to be enjoyed for its own sake.
• Extremely adorable art style. It’s deeply weird to see Rainbow Six reimagined as cutesy DeviantArt-style drawings, but setting aside any dissonance that creates, the game looks phenomenal. It uses a hand-drawn, paper doll aesthetic for characters and a brightly colored painterly style for backgrounds and environments. Animation is top-notch, and it was easy for me to see vision cones and hazard warnings as I took my little squad of operators through each mission.
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• Fun progression systems. While I started with a completely fresh operator each time I died in the field, the meta-progression layer in Rainbow Six: Smol hooked me in and kept me wanting to head out on another mission. I collected gold during each mission and operation that I could use to unlock new features in my base, as well as new abilities that I could draw from during operations. Meanwhile, my character gained experience and got tougher each time I cleared a mission, and I could choose to spend XP on permanent class progression to unlock new outfits and weapons for each recruit class to pick from.
I also unlocked classic Rainbow Six operators like Valkyrie, Castle, and Sledge by completing rescue missions in certain areas, and these characters could later join me on my runs, adding their special abilities to my loadout. When I brought Valkyrie along, for example, I could hurl intel grenades over walls so I could see who was moving around behind the next door we planned to kick down. I liked watching my character progress through each run, but it was always great to know that even when they inevitably died, I’d still be able to use points I had earned to permanently improve my camp. Every time I successfully cleared a mission with a Rainbow Six operator, they would gain experience too, gradually unlocking more powerful special abilities.
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WHAT SUCKS ABOUT RAINBOW SIX SMOL?

• Gosh, the tone is weird. On the one hand, I like that Ubisoft has been willing to go to some strange places with the normally over-serious Tom Clancy brand—Rainbow Six Extraction is another great example of this. On the other hand, while I enjoyed my time with Rainbow Six: Smol quite a lot, I am still having a lot of trouble getting over the adorable “smol bean” treatment of professional killers. It’s not that I’m offended or anything; it just creates this very harsh discordance that never resolves. It would be like if someone made a children’s picture book about Agent 47 from the Hitman series, complete with garroting guards with piano wire and dropping chandeliers on elderly plutocrats. I feel as though I’m playing an over-the-top satire of psychotic government propaganda, like this is the kind of game that kids in Starship Troopers play on their phones.
I’m not even sure that this is something that sucks necessarily! It’s just extremely weird and unsettling. Maybe that’s the entire joke, but making a slick mobile game that is actually super fun to play seems like a long way to go to make it.

PLATFORM TESTED

Android via Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G phone.
icon GameRecommendationicon MustPlayicon TacticalRPGicon The Future of Mobile Gaming
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Comments
marabu
marabu
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4

They just took the game "tiny" and put a r6 skin on it

2024-03-02

tjPrestine Adair
tjPrestine Adair
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1

pwhat kind of game is this I got a Xbox I got GTA I got I got GTA v

2024-03-13

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