Sony’s upcoming downloadable title for the PS3 looks to take the “games as art” sensibility that Flower and Journey pioneered, and move it on to new levels. I recently got some hands-on time with the early sections of Rain, and here are my impressions.
Rain is, at its heart, a platformer with stealth elements. The game starts after a beautiful watercolour-soaked opening scene, before introducing you to the core mechanics over the opening chapters. You play as an invisible boy, tasked with finding an invisible girl. Your only way of becoming visible is to walk in the titular weather, with a silhouette-type effect giving you an outline of the boy. If you hide under cover, you disappear again, leaving footprints to determine where you are. The sheltered areas are often littered with objects that can be interacted with, flipping tables upside down, or sending bottles into the street. Additionally, there are a number of dirty puddles that will keep the boy visible even if he is under cover. This comes in handy during some extended “under cover” moments, but also leaves you visible to the creatures that may be on the prowl. It’s one of a series of interesting touches that add a deeper element to the core gameplay.
As well as the boy and the girl, there are also numerous creatures that you need to avoid. Much like your character, these too are only visible in the rain. The game introduces them immediately, with chase sequences tied together with stealth sequences involving walking under cover to avoid numerous beasts at a time. Whilst there are some puzzle elements to Rain’s early sections, I didn’t really encounter too much that was overly taxing. Visually, it’s really impressive for a small title, and the audio is just as good, with appropriate crescendos when enemies are near, and soothing music when the girl is visible.
It looks like Rain’s going to continue the trend of Sony’s unique and artistic games released via download on the PS3. I certainly enjoyed my time with the game’s opening three chapters, and am looking forward to spending a bit more time with it ahead of its October release. Be sure to come back here to NGB for a full review around the time it launches!