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Rain Review: a damp squib, or a ray of sunshine?

1 October 2013

Announced at Gamescom last year and available as a download-only title via the PSN Store, Rain is the latest offering from SCE Japan, the team behind other quirky titles such as Puppeteer and Tokyo Jungle.

While the story doesn’t make too much sense, there are moments when it's both sweet and touching. Indeed, there’s an over-riding feeling that Rain is supposed to be one of those self-interpretation type games like Journey, where the narrative and game experience as a whole speaks to each person individually, allowing them to derive their own meaning.

In a nutshell, you’re a little boy who one day sees the likeness of a girl in the rain. When she is chased off by an unearthly beast, the boy gives chase and soon adopts the girl’s invisible form. The remainder of the game revolves around the search for safety as the two main characters try to avoid the Unknown--those mysterious monsters that roam the rainy streets. Unfortunately, a lot of the questions that had arisen in my mind (no spoilers here) weren’t answered by the ending, which is a shame as I really was interested in learning the reasons behind what was going on.

Graphically, the game is in line with what you’d expect from a downloadable title and looks nice enough for what it’s trying to achieve and its modest price point. The game’s dreary setting evokes the feeling of having a long and uncertain trip ahead of you under the relentless shower of rain drops when you’d much rather be safe and warm at home. An array of static and panning shots portray the game world from a variety of interesting angles as you wander through it. Though it’s a simplistic approach to visuals, the art style helps immerse you in the strange alternate dimension the boy gets lost in.



Naturally, the default sound palette is the rain. Those that find that sound soothing will enjoy the ambiance it creates in-game. At certain points the pitter-patter sound is complemented by music that reflects the different emotions of the story-- tension, loneliness, uncertainty, anxiety, danger and melancholy. Accordion, piano and more elaborate orchestral pieces do a very good job at creating an emotional connection to the story that seems to have been one of the key goals of the game, seeing as the other aspects don’t really explore new ground.

Continued overleaf...


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