Detectives and adventure games go together like fish and chips. The combination of logic puzzles and a narrative focus just works well with solving mysteries. Rainswept very much takes that pairing to heart. It's a murder mystery/detective story set in a small suburban town called Pineview. You play as Detective Michael Stone, a bit city detective brought in to solve the murder of a local couple.
There is certainly a hint of Twin Peaks to Rainswept. The big city detective comes to a small town to solve a gruesome murder and finds things to be a little odd amongst several of the inhabitants. While it might not have the supernatural elements which were a feature of Twin Peaks it certainly has a similar tone, even if it's not quite as camp.
The gameplay all takes place on a 2D plane, meaning that you only have to move left and right at any given time. You move left and right and can click on different objects and people to interact with your surroundings. Most of the 'puzzles' and the story progression actually takes place through dialogue as opposed to hunting objects.
The dialogue focus fits well for a game about being a detective. The 'use object' command only came up once or twice in the whole game. Most of the time, you'll be seeking more knowledge rather than actual objects. For instance, finding out someone you've already talked to has lied to you allows you to press them further.
Assist The Local Police in Rainswept
Rainswept's focus on dialogue over puzzles throws the narrative into sharp focus. It's less about figuring it out then it is about being led on an interesting adventure by the nose. Fortunately, the narrative is very well put together and features a cast of characters who all have their own distinct personalities and development.
When you get to the town you're confronted by the local law enforcement who almost all have a pretty stony reaction to you. The local police believe the case is a simple open and shut, so don't take kindly to your involvement. The other officer who is assigned to you is impressed by you and is also much friendlier. Throughout the course of the game, your relationships with all three of these characters develop, especially in the cases of your assistant and the local detective.
The murder mystery plot isn't the only thing going on in Rainswept either. Every so often your character will have a fainting spell or will suffer from sleep paralysis. A lot of the time these moments are where you find the surreal aspects of the storyline. There is a lot of hinting towards some sort of past trauma which the main character suffered, and which still affects him. The trauma constantly comes up throughout the narrative but it's only fully revealed by the ending.
Subplots and Dialogue Choices in Rainswept
The emotional trauma subplot adds a lot of depth to the main character, and that's mostly handled well. There were a few times where there were some pretty oblique references to suicide which could have been handled better, but overall these hard subject were handled in a very smart way. The subplot also fits right alongside the murder mystery in several cases, as you learn more about the relationship the two victims had with each other.
The main characters subplot isn't the only one you can find in Rainswept either. As you travel around the town to try and solve the mystery you can interact with the locals. Several have their own encounters, which don't affect the main story, but they're at least interesting. They help to lend Pineview a sense of life, and transforms the people in it from cardboard cutouts to living, breathing people.
The narrative is well put together, but Rainswept suffers in other areas. The gameplay is pretty damn simple, taking place on a single plane. It's also very light on the challenge. There are approximately two actual puzzles in the game and both of them are solves in less than a minute. There are also numerous bugs throughout the game, some of which are pretty damn severe. At one point I had to stop playing for a whole day while I waited for a bug fix. The bug in question made it so none of the QTE's worked and so you couldn't complete the game.
Rainswept Review | Final Thoughts
The bug was fixed in a pretty timely manner, but there were other less severe bugs on display as well. It's impossible to directly close the objectives list because pressing the button to close it the page just reopens itself. There are also numerous graphical issues here or there but they're mostly minor. Other than the major game-breaking bug mentioned above none of the bugs were bad enough to actually make the experience any worse.
The art style of Rainswept, in general, is pretty good. The graphics are all made using simple shapes and colors with no outlines or features. The art style is very simple but works well with the tone and feel of the game. The simple gameplay matches the uncomplicated art style. It also allows for some really interesting and unique-looking cutscenes. What looks like a craft paper blob from a distance looks pretty incredible up-close.
Overall Rainswept is a great game. It has some issues, such as the bugs and the overly simplistic gameplay, but the well-constructed story and unique visual style save it. It's only a short experience, running about fout hours altogether, but that suits it. Any longer and it might have felt drawn out. Keeping the pace tight and the scale small makes it a quaint, surreal detective story which is memorable enough to stick in the mind.
TechRaptor reviewed Rainswept on PC via Steam with a code provided by the developers
- Unique Art Style
- Enthralling Story
- Well-Written Characters
- Simplistic Gameplay
- Piles Of Bugs