Publisher: Adult Swim Games
Platforms: PC, PS4
Tested on: PC
Rain World – Review
Rain World is an indie survival platformer, developed by Videocult and published by Adult Swim Games, who we all know and love for their wacky cartoons such as the famous series: Rick and Morty. In this game, you’ll play as a slugcat in an unforgiving industrial wasteland where nature’s laws have taken over and you are both predator and prey.
Rain World begins with some beautiful opening scenes that tell the tale of how our slugcat got separated from his beloved family by the pouring rain, after this, you must lead the cat to a safe hibernating place to sit out the rain. When the weather clears up, the adventure of our slugcat begins: survival!
The goal of the game is to be reunited with your family once more, to achieve this, many perilous situations must be conquered. Information is very scarce in Rain World, other than a few glimpses of some situations your family has been in, no information is given on where to go and how to find them. In this sense, you can see this story as more of a thread throughout the game, Rain World is not focused on story-telling. Instead, the storyline serves more as a reason why you must survive in this harsh environment, namely: you need to find your family.
Rain World utilizes a 16-bit art style in-game with ridiculously smooth animations that feel truly natural, just the way an actual slugcat would move, you know? As far as the in-game graphics go, there are no problems whatsoever, except that you might have to take a minute to get used to the graphical style. What Rain World does exceptionally well is captivate the player and transport them to the industrial wasteland using their marvelously sculpted landscapes. These landscapes have amazing detail, such as oil-like substances flowing through grates in the wall.
The color palette of this game is overall very bleak with a lot of greys and blacks, befitting the wasteland the game is set in. An exception to this are the organisms you encounter, lizards are glowing pink or green and edible berries are blue, which makes them stand out because of their contrast to the environment.
Rain World’s soundtrack was composed by James Primate and Lydia Esrig. These two people have done a tremendous job because this game’s soundtrack is absolutely beautiful. Most of the tracks are simple, but with a melancholic note in them, especially the theme songs. The first of these theme songs shares similarities with the first song on the Interstellar soundtrack. Other than the theme songs, there are also so-called threat-tracks, these show up when a threat is nearby, hah, weird right? Who would’ve expected that? These threat-tracks, which vary depending on what region you’re in, are overall more lively than the other songs, with more bass in them. One could loosely compare them to techno/house music.
Except for the threat-tracks, music in this game is mostly atmospherical. It should also be noted that much of the time spent in the game will be without background music, music mostly only starts playing when it is connected to something, like threats for example. Now you might think that a game without background music is a bit dull or lacking, but I assure you that it’s not. No music most of the time just fits the wasteland you find yourself in, it also makes for some moments where it’s just you and the slugcat, which makes you connect with this poor creature that is struggling for survival.
As an indie survival platformer, there’s a lot of platforming involved in Rain World, as well as surviving, of course. This game’s gameplay and mechanics are its main focus, let’s talk about the basic mechanics of the game.
At the start of the game, the player gets almost no info on how to actually play the game, the basic controls get explained to you: jumping, moving around and eating, but that’s about it. There are a lot of hidden mechanics that you will have to discover because these are vital to progress in the game, for example: cycles. Rain World works with cycles, meaning that if you can successfully catch enough food and find a hibernating spot in time before the rains set in, you advance to the next cycle. But enough about that, this game’s charm lies in the concept that the player has to discover most of the basic mechanics for themselves, so we won’t go into further detail, to not spoil your experience.
Finding food eh? Yes, you have different options when it comes to food, you can go catch big flies or if you’re lucky, you’ll stumble across some fruit, hah, easy prey. Of course, you’re not the only one looking to stuff their belly, there are other predators out there that are just dying to get some of that sweet slugcat meat. You might be an adorable slugcat, but you’re not entirely defenseless. You can pick up objects and later throw them, this will result in your slugcat walking around with a little spear half of the time. You can’t impale lizards with one spear, but it does slow them down, or you can throw it to the wall and create a platform you can use to your advantage.
Rain World uses pipes as a means of transportation, but beware! You’re not the only one that can use these pipes! Of course, different pipes do different things, some make you move to another spot in the same room and others make you go to different rooms altogether.
While we’re on the subject, platforming is sometimes a lot harder than you’d expect because your slugcat really doesn’t jump that high. He is a versatile climber, but you’ll need to learn how to properly use his skills, you’ll learn through dying, something you will do very often. Also in these things, there is a lot of attention to detail, for example: if you enter a tube with your tail first, you’ll keep crawling through that tube with your butt first, which might not always be the fastest.
As far as enemies go, the one you’ll encounter first is the lizards, they can use some pipes you can’t, which makes for some surprises you didn’t sign up for. Lizards are fairly easily avoided though, not like the birds, oh god the birds. These enemies you’ll encounter are grotesque birds that sometimes will just swoop down out of nowhere and try to catch you, unfair at times, but it’s the way things are. You can’t expect an industrial wasteland where all struggle to survive to be forgiving, now can you?
Rain World is a difficult, unforgiving, awe-inspiring and amazing game. It needs to be said though that it’s not for everyone, could be that after an hour you’re like: “oh hell no, this is a stupid game!” but for people who bite through the peel, what’s inside is worth it. With a lot of hidden mechanics for the player to discover, beautiful music and an adorable character such as the slugcat, Rain World is sure to leave a mark on your heart.