In a world constantly flooded by rain, a slugcat and its family are separated. The journey to be reunited with them is through a hostile world filled with predators, a changing environment, lack of food, and, of course, floods.
Welcome to Rain World.
In Rain World, you control a slugcat, which is a lot cuter than it sounds. Slugcat has a basic set of controls that include basic movement, jumping, eating, and throwing. More advanced moves like pouncing, rolling, wall jumping, and more are learned throughout the game as you experiment with navigating the environment.
The basic goal of the game is to find slugcat’s family while staying alive. Everything in Rain World is out to get you. Various predators prowl the world while your own hunger eats away at you. Slugcat can throw items like rocks, spears, but can really only hold predators at bay. Food is plentiful towards the start of the game but comes increasing rare as you progress. As if all this weren’t enough, there’s always the threat of rain.
Rain Cat includes a rain clock that lets you know how long until the next rain storm comes and floods the world. As you go on you’ll be able to pick up on visual and audio clues so you don’t have to rely on the clock as much. Slugcat needs to find shelter before it rains and must have at least 4 units of food to survive its slumber through the storm. This makes finding food early on important, and eventually, leads to taking much bigger risks.
Rain World’s biggest strength is its audio and visuals. The world, while often dangerous and unforgiving, is beautifully illustrated in highly detailed pixel art. Slugcat and everything else living is animated using a physics engine that gives everything a strange sense of life. Creatures scramble, stumble, fall, and rest in an eerily lifelike way.
The soundtrack is eerie and fitting to the dark world, but it’s the little details like the audio cues of predators and rain that truly immerse players into slugcat’s survival experience.
Rain World is a game best played in the dark with the volume turned up, or with headphones.
Rain World is brutal. There’s no other word for it. The game gives you very little direction through its introductory tutorial beyond the very basic controls and objectives of the game. It’s up to the player to figure out how to move the initially clumsy feeling slugcat, deal with predators, and find their way through the world.
The game can initially be very frustrating as slugcat meets a variety of environmental and predatory deaths. Not only that, but each section of the environment changes every time it rains, so what you knew to expect before the storm won’t hold true once slugcat awakes from slumber. Food, while available in plentiful quantities at first, becomes more and more scarce. While you may survive your waking hours, you may starve in your sleep.
Everything is so fluid
Once you can accept the fact that you’re going to die, a lot, the game opens up and reveals what a joy it really is. Slugcat eventually feels more graceful and you run, jump, swing, and speed through the various screens. Predators, while still dangerous, become a bit more manageable as you learn how to best trip them up.
In the end, Rain World is a very satisfying experience. The difficult learning curve can be forgiven by the game’s ambient beauty and rewarding gameplay.
A PS4 copy of Rain World was provided free for review by Adult Swim Games.