Rain

raincoverart

Rain, rain, go away…

Rain, a downloadable PSN title, is a relatively short, wet journey. I’d categorize this game as an adventure/puzzle sort-of platformer game. This game is easy to play in short sessions with generous checkpoints and auto-saves, making it my go-to game when I didn’t have the time or energy to play Mass Effect 2.

The player controls a young boy who has a sudden chivalrous notion to assist an invisible girl being chased by an invisible enemy in the middle of a rainy night. Upon leaping into the night to assist the damsel in distress, he also transforms into  a ghastly mist figure. The incessant rain is one of the few visual aids you receive to track your character’s movement. While under the cover of eaves and rooftops, kicking up dust, muddy footprints, and knocking over environments will help you track your progress. This unique mechanic opens the paths for some intriguing advancement puzzles and enemy-dodging.

Everything one-hit kills you, seeing as how you’re only a defenseless little kid in his PJs. The experience becomes a sort of stealthy cat-and-mouse with variables thrown in throughout the game to try keeping the experience fresh. And about every chapter or so there’s a chase sequence with the ultimate baddie, adequately dubbed “The Unknown.” With only an outlined figure to look at, it reminds me of the weird Silent Hill 3 super tall enemies with the huge arms in the amusement park nightmare opening:

rainunknownchase

Unknown is on the left. Player is on the right.

It remains Unknown, by the way, because there’s little to no explanation on a first playthrough about how they got to that parallel universe (or whatever you want to call it) or what the monsters really are. It’s largely all interpretive and suggestive, minus the cheesy beginning and ending.

For such a dreary atmosphere and sense of powerlessness, the ending was all butterflies and rainbows. I wasn’t expecting that at all, and truth be told, I was a little disappointed. I was also disappointed that, after beating the game, I unlocked “Memories” to collect if I decided to play again. I played through the game once and literally had no collectibles and no reason to explore. I really think this should’ve been offered the first time to give me something to look forward to besides simple puzzles and chase sequences.

Overall, I don’t feel like the game really delivers on its promise. The setting and tone start out wonderfully, but as things drag on and there’s no real impact besides losing a girl I know nothing about or a main character I know even less about, spending hours running from enemies I know nothing about… There has to be high emotional stakes in a game that doesn’t offer an in-depth or interesting battle system or exploration. And, sad to say, Rain falls flat here. For the price I paid, I don’t regret sinking in the few hours to play it, but I have no desire to experience it again.

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