When I first started playing Rain World, I thought I had a nice little platform game in my hands. One with a cute main character who had to navigate a post-apocalyptic landscape in the usual way, jumping between platforms, avoiding enemies and so on. Well, that impression is technically not wrong, but there’s way more here than that. Rain World is a survival in the purest sense of the word. You’re a prey in a world of predators with limited opportunities to fight back. Don’t let the cute art style and awesome pixel art fool you. Rain World is relentless.
Adult Swim Games is not famous for publishing easy games and Rain World is no exception. If you think you know what relief means, this game will make you think again. The sensation of finding a bonfire in Dark Souls is nothing compared to finding an alcove in Rain World when you have enough food in your belly to hibernate. The whole game world is after the little protagonist, and our Slugcat hero has to embark on a long and difficult journey in order to reunite with their family, which is no easy task. As mentioned before, predators will hunt the little creature and they have only the player’s wits to defend themselves.
The main gameplay cycle is simple enough. Rain World is set in a place littered with the remains of a once thriving human civilization. Skeleton of skyscrapers and other ruins dot most of the landscape throughout your journey. Despite the less than friendly wildlife, the most dangerous thing in this world is the rain. It’s so thick, heavy and dense that our slugcat friend can’t survive in it, so finding yourself outside when the rain starts means an instant game over. The only way they can survive is to find a refuge and hibernate itself until the rain ends. Afterward, they’ll have to explore the world in order to find a new protective alcove while gathering enough food to go into hibernation for the whole period, all while avoiding strange creatures like snake-alligators, masked vultures, and shadow spiders.
Visually, the game is stunning, a true joy for the eyes. In this day and age, we see a lot of indie developers using pixel art for their titles but it’s rare to see such a beautiful use of it, with lots of details, shading and great use of lighting. However, it’s not only the art style that contributes to making Rain World a visual feast. The procedurally generated and physics based animations make all the characters interesting to watch as they move around the screen. Sure, it creates some erratic behavior from time to time, but it also adds to the charm. To put it bluntly, Rain World is simply gorgeous.
At the end of the day, Rain World is an enjoyable game to play. It gives you a challenge and a nice world to explore with many possible paths to go down. The problem is that sometimes it feels as if the game wants to hide information from the player. Trial and error is the best way to go forward in Rain World and apparently the game doesn’t like to tell you what your slugcat is capable of. In the first screens you see, you’re taught that you can pick up objects, throw objects and jump. That’s it. Slugcat can wall jump as well but that’s left for the player to discover. You can charge a jump in order to lunge forward but, again, you’ll have to find it on your own. The only way to know if the little critter is capable of swimming is to take a risk and jump in the water. This is a game that doesn’t hold your hand.
The full review is coming once we can get our slugcat through the night. For now, just know that Rain World is a great game to grab if you’re up for the challenge.
Rain World was previewed on PC via Steam with a code provided by the publisher. It will also be available on PlayStation 4.