Out of all of the games I had the pleasure of playing at PlayStation Experience, Rain World was one of the most unique. Developed by Videocult and published by Adult Swim Games, Rain World is a visceral experience set in a living world filled with creatures of all shapes and sizes. Its concepts of survival within this large open world would look great on paper, but in execution, falls a bit short due to its loose gameplay mechanics.
In Rain World, you control a slugcat separated from its family. It is your quest to survive the harsh environments as well as the creatures that inhabit it as you search for your lost family. In a game that heavily relies on traversing and hopping from platform to platform, the slugcat’s movement felt too loose and heavy for my liking. That might also be due to the amount of time I played the game. With only 30 minutes to get acquainted to the controls and the game’s many mechanical quirks, they never seemed to click for me. I’m sure I could get used to it with a bit more time, but as it stands, traversal was not this game’s strength.
Despite its unfavorable traversal, every mechanic presented in Rain World creates a incredibly fun experience. The survival aspect isn’t too strenuous. Your “life bar” consists of eight bulbs; four of them are necessary to fill in case you’re caught in an event (like a rainstorm) where you cannot find food, while the other four available are there if you wish to prolong your famine. To fill a bulb, you simply need to catch prey, and eat them. Food seems to be in abundance. This may change as you venture out from the starting point, but from what I played, it was seemingly painless to find food.
While you play predator to the smaller creatures, larger creatures will hunt you down. You are given two options when a predator spots you: run away or fight. Fighting would be a viable option if player movement wasn’t unreliable. Since enemies kill in one hit, I found it easier to just avoid conflict; if conflict occurred, I ran away. Any time I tried to fight back, the results typically ended in the cute slugcat’s death. The risk of fighting never showed its benefits.
Rain World‘s atmosphere and setting is where Videocult’s survival adventure really shines. It embraces the melancholy elements of being alone and afraid through its dark setting and story. The combination of dark environments and colorful creatures produce beautiful visuals throughout the world. The character and environmental designs are captivating and unique,making you want to know more about the world. Just from a design standpoint, Rain World has a lot of potential for great storytelling through its dreary and mysterious world.
Rain World‘s potential is evident. While the core mechanic of player movement is flawed, the fantastic animation – beautiful 16-bit inspired graphics – and an intriguing world make it worth experiencing. I felt that my time with Rain World just wasn’t enough to fully appreciate the vision Videocult was aiming for. As I played, I was enamored with the game’s world. I wanted to venture forth and discover its secrets. I wanted to find the adorable slugcat’s family. However, traversing the world felt laborious. It’s unfortunate that something so fundamental puts a blemish on an otherwise great game. Hopefully the intrigue and charm found in its setting and story is prevalent throughout its entirety.
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