I live in Manchester and thus I’m fully aware of the perils of rain. At least I thought I was. Rain World soon proved that droplets of water can be far more dangerous than you’d expect. In fact it can be just as much an issue as giant lizard things or tentacle plants. Especially if you’re not human and you’re some half slug, half cat thing called a slugcat.

The opening animation of Rain World shows many slugcats. They seem happy. Soon though, your slugcat is separated from their friends and must find a way to reconnect with them again. That’s not before finding shelter first though. Shelter provides you a space to hibernate, which is an important thing to do if you want to save your progress. Hibernating isn’t as easy as just finding a safe space though. You’ll need to make sure you’re fed to survive the hibernation first.

Hunting or foraging for food highlights the ecosystem of Rain World. Your slugcat has a few critters and plants it can snack on, but there’s also plenty out there that want to snack on you. The likelihood is that they will snack on you quite frequently as the game is relentlessness in its difficulty. Even when you get the hang of outwitting enemies, their procedural spawning across the map that occurs each time you load up will lead to you having to alter your route when they’re blocking your path.

“So what if they’re blocking my path?” you say. “I’ll just go down another path”. That’s a fine plan, but the thing is, many of these enemies can follow you all across the map if they want to. You can get some crude tools to try and combat them such as rocks and spears, but for the most part you’ll want to just steer clear. This can mean a lot of waiting about atop a high place they can’t reach. Unfortunately, waiting about for too long brings with it its own problems.

As previously stated, the rain in Rain World is quite dangerous. As it approaches, the DualShock 4 will start to vibrate. Upon feeling this you’ll want to try and get to a hibernation point as quickly as possible. Even if you think you’ve avoided the rain, unless you get to a hibernation area the map will flood, resulting in instant death. Death like this is, rather unsurprisingly, a hindrance.

It’s not always a hindrance to die though. When I was snagged by one of the giant lizard creatures, after thinking I was fine to sneak past it as it was fighting with another one, I waited before respawning and just watched what happened. What happened was a mini tour of places on the map I wasn’t even aware existed. It’s also quite fascinating just watching the world exist without you and seeing the enemies still squabble over their territory or just find a place to leave your lifeless slugcat body.

Annoyingly though, death soon becomes an all too frequent occurrence. At first it feels like your fault, but soon you’ll find yourself being caught out just because you don’t have a clue where you’re meant to go. The map doesn’t explain very much and soon the wonder of exploration turns to frustration due to it rarely providing you an “aha” moment. It’s not helped by fiddly controls that can make the more intricate platforming sections even more frustrating.

I wanted to love Rain World. It’s an admirable game that tries many interesting things, but it also puts up too many barriers that deter gamers from truly enjoying it. There’s an interesting world to explore, but most will lack the patience to do so. The game should, in theory, encourage discussion, but unfortunately the community just hasn’t grown around Rain World to make that discussion happen naturally. It looks lovely and at times the rush the gameplay delivers feels great, but it’s an experience that will frustrate many to unfortunately give up before they reach the end.

You can watch me play some of Rain World below.



Author

Brett Claxton

I like video games. That's why I write about them. I've played them for years and in that time I've found a love for creepy horrors, indie darlings and the oddities that come out of Japan. Although my main purpose on the site is to write up news and reviews I'm also one of the main Let's Play video creators of the team (or, as I call them, Brett's Play videos). You can check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Bretteh2