You awake under a big tree, you eat bats, and you run around like a ghost sheet of paper covering a squirrel. What are you exactly? Apparently, you are a protagonist in the Kickstarter-backed title, Rain World. A lot of this seems to make sense, yet it’ll take some time trying to make it make anything close to whatever you paid for it… and sense.
The game starts off with a “catslug”, as he’s branded. Apparently, there is a family of these lovely creatures. One chilling day, their plateau is drenched with rain, separating one of these adorable hybrids, throwing him or her into the sewer depths of a land he or she is not all that familiar with. Their task seems to be to reunite with his fellow hybrids.
Rain World is only told via pictures. There’s no narrator. There’s no people to dodge, yet their remnants are apparently here. There’s no real explanation of the current events. The game leaves one to make an attempt at animal survival. Catslug is its’ hero and he’s on his own. Except for a one-eyed yellow slime thing that seems to take an interest in our fur…thing. Even Catslug’s death, by the hands of his fiends, wreaks of beautiful animation and animosity.
Catslug is charged to find his tribe in a well-animated yet dark setting. Everything is dark. Enemies are slightly neon or silhouette. Catslug dodges pretty quickly, amassing a couple of tricks in his arsenal for his attackers, whether it a twig or a bat. Catslug has some things to work with in his bid at an “An American Tale” remake. Mostly, from what I have seen, the dragon like monsters differ in their stances against our friend.
Rain World plays into the adventure side-scroller genre. Catslug wanders from screen-to-screen, and so does his pursuers. The way this was set up was definitely an interesting cue. Enemies can follow Catslug to different parts of the map. Catslug can pick up objects to slow them down, but it seems to be only to that end. Birds, lizards, and treacherous grass are all out to kill you. Some of the foes can even mimic Catslug’s movement. After a certain point, there will be a random flood, that could kill Catslug if he doesn’t hibernate on rations he stores up.
Rain World suffers from some issues. The difficulty Rain World has is in its’ tutorial. There isn’t much to go on with it. There is a bit explained, yet not enough. Catslug can do x and x but the game barely informs you on that. Alot of it is self-discovery. Why will Catslug die in the flood? Where can he go? WHO IS THIS SLUG THING THAT STALKS ME?! I remembered seeing a map, but there wasn’t too much detail included. It was a bit frustrating to witness this. Especially from a game that relies on visuals and 80% no text to tell it. How do I kill these guys? That’s on you.
Rain World is a Stop-Light-Go-Light take on the Metroidvania genre. The premise itself is slightly more grounded in reality than several other titles of this nature. Catslug’s jump even resembles a certain blue bomber. Not sure if that was intentional, but it seemed cool. Rain World looks as if it has alot to show for it, yet with a crushing amount of difficulty and less than average hand-holding, this indie showcase title is more akin to a vase of technical merit. There seems to be more, but Rain World only allows the select few, with an enormous amount of patience, to shine on through to see it.
Rain World is available now on Steam and the PlayStation 4.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher on a PlayStation 4.