One video game publisher who has been building quite a diverse portfolio of games over the past couple years is Adult Swim Games. Games where you fly around as a head and take over bodies or games where you play as a duck. Their latest published game created by the team over at Videocult is called Rain World and has you playing as a creature known as Slugcat who has to survive in a very dangerous world. Many things about this game intrigued me over the past couple years and gave me high hopes for it such as the art style and enemy AI. Now that I’ve played the finished product I can say that some things turned out well but some things made me not enjoy it as much as I would have liked to.
Rain World to me is a Metroidvania/survival/puzzle-platformer game with a heave emphasis on the survival part. Much like you might expect from the title Rain World is not a pretty place. It’s dreary and dark and full of dangers. Across its many maps you’ll experience run down industrial areas, oceans, areas with more vegetation and so on. The game begins with Slugcat being separated from its family leaving you to learn how to survive in this world in order to make it back to them. A key system in the game is time and you’ll need to keep an eye on it. This is because at the end of a day rainfall comes down that will kill you if you don’t find shelter before then. This can easily happen as the world in this game is bigger then I would have thought and you can go pretty much wherever you want from the start.
So as you progress through the maps room by room you’ll need to feed Slugcat by eating things like bugs, fruit, flowers and such which in turn fills up a life meter. You need this to be filled because when you take shelter from the rainfall and hibernate this meter depletes. Then the next day begins and its back to eating and progressing once again. Should you die at any point the game sends you back to the last spot that you rested in and erases any progress you made after that. While exploring the world you’ll be doing a lot of jumping to platforms, climbing, swimming and so on. Now there really isn’t much of a sense of guidance in this game. A little flying assistant is in the game to help you find food and shelter but the direction it points in doesn’t really help. If you’re the type that prefers finding your own way this isn’t a big deal but for those who need clear directions you’ll probably find yourself frustrated.
The other big element to surviving in this game is the various enemies you encounter. When you see any of them you’ll want to do your best to avoid them as Slugcat is pretty defenseless and they’ll make a quick snack out of you. This can be done by finding ways around them or by picking up things like rocks to throw and distract them. Should you get spotted and need to escape good luck because your movement speed is pretty darn slow which you might expect given your characters name. This is pretty irritating as I died a lot because of this causing me to lose tons of progress. I feel like they could have made the movement speed just a bit faster. The game has some great enemy AI but often times it just feels cheap as enemies will corner you or even ambush you all of the sudden leading to a cheap death and loss of progress. I’m all for tough games but some things about Rain World just seem too unfair at times. Don’t get me wrong when you do manage to escape the clutches of death and just barely escape in this game the feeling is great. The difficulty in Rain World is one of it’s biggest strengths and weaknesses in my opinion.
Two areas of Rain World that don’t disappoint is the visuals and the animation. Every landscape in this game looks great and the design of Slugcat and the enemies is well done too. The animation of both Slugcat and the enemies is something to behold and far above what you would come to expect out of a pixel game like this. The way everything dynamically moves in this game is pretty incredible and makes each creature come alive. Music in Rain World is dark and has an ominous feel to it which fits the atmosphere perfectly. I also liked how when you are around an enemy creature the music is slow but ends up picking up the moment they start to pursue you and close in. For the trophy collectors out there Rain World has a list of them including a Platinum but this will be one of the harder ones for sure. Not just because the game is so tough but because the trophy list in general is pretty vague and doesn’t really tell you what you need to do in order to unlock them.
Despite my grievances with the unfair difficulty of Rain World I did enjoy my time with it but not as much I had hoped to. It’s massive, interestingly, designed world begs me to explore it but the unfairness of it all pushes me away. Rain World has so many things going for it like an awesome enemy AI system, great animation, huge world and more but the other lesser done well things like the way too slow movement speed and the moments of unfairness keep it from being truly great. I do think it is worth checking out though and judging for yourself as it is unlike most other games out there.
*Review code provided by the publisher