It fell from the sky, hundreds of metres passed by with no means to stop itself, gaining momentum as it drew closer and closer to impact. With a gentle thud it hit the ground, spraying out in every direction, others followed, thousands of them cascading from the sky, a gentle melody of pits and pats.
These drew the attention of a boy, who gazed out the window and through the raindrops he saw the silhouette of a girl. It was love at first sight and she was in danger. Instinctively he followed her through a mysterious portal, losing his form to become visible only in the rain.
Rain is a 3D platformer with puzzle elements that have been built from the ground up around this mechanic. The boy’s silhouette becomes visible when standing in the rain and disappears when he takes shelter. Dry areas are navigated by the footprints he leaves behind and any interactions with objects in the environment.
However people aren’t the only ones to get lose themselves within this world, it’s inhabited with monsters who’d chase down both him and the young girl. With no way to fight, the only option is stealth, darting from cover to cover in an attempt to evade your pursuers. Initially it seems fairly simple, but as the demo progressed it became increasingly complex – enemies patrolled dry areas, puddles on the floor drew their attention as I walked over and I even had to bait enemies to solve puzzles.
The most iconic part is the world itself and the incredible amount of depth and detail that have gone into building it, everything from the solemn piano pieces and relentless rainfall, to the level design and how those characters interact with the world. Walk close enough to the wall and the boy will gingerly run his fingers along its length as he goes, it’s a subtle touch but one that makes this tale just a little bit more believable.
Traversing the world is pretty linear, from what I could tell in the demo it was more about getting there alive. There are puzzles, but those in the demo were about using the creature’s brute strength to your advantage.
This is a story about love, and the wondrously crazy things that a boy is willing to do. It’s certainly one of the quirkier titles I’ve played recently, though it’s hardly surprising coming from Sony Japan.