This year, we have been talking a lot about indie games at E3 2013. These interesting titles tread paths that the “me too” AAA games won’t dare to tread. They are magnificent productions of art using light and sound coupled with interactivity to tell stories like none other. Perhaps one of the most artistic games of the show was Rain, a puzzle/horror game set to come for the PlayStation 3 in the fall of this year.
Rain puts you in control of a nameless young boy who gets lost in the rain one day. While there, he notices the silhouette of a young girl outlined only by rain drops. He follows her, and through a series of unfortunate events, turns invisible just like the girl. It is then that he finds out two things; one, the only time anyone can see him is when he is in the rain himself. And two, there are lots of other invisible creatures waiting in the darkness to have him for lunch.
The game uses these simple rules to construct a variety of puzzles. For example, if you know a monster is waiting for you up a path, simply run into an alleyway where the rain can’t touch you and you will turn invisible, unable to be tracked by the beast. Similarly, if you can somehow put an overhang over the monster, then you will create a safe area with no rain where he can’t see you at all. Unfortunately, this also means that you can’t see it.
There are tons of other puzzles that are constructed out of the simple building blocks of the rain and the environment. If you turn invisible but you were recently wet, you will leave damp footprints everywhere you go. While this is a great way to track where your character is, it’s also a great way for monsters to figure out where you are as well.
Sound also plays a huge part in the puzzle solving of Rain. The atmosphere is constantly abuzz with the sound of rain drops falling. This makes it so that the monsters around you can’t hear your footsteps. If you take shelter from the rain, then suddenly monsters can hear where you are walking and track you by sound. Similarly, if you make a noise that is louder than the rain, perhaps by causing objects to fall from high places, then monsters will head toward that noise, allowing you to slip by.
Rain was an incredibly gripping indie title, on par with games such as Limbo or Braid. It’s simple but sends a powerful emotional message to the player. You will fear for your life when you hear the footsteps of an invisible monster, and you’ll jump out of your seat when one of them manages to get their jaws around your neck. The entire game fills you with a sense of ever present dread, which is only enhanced by the visuals of the rain and the sound of it falling. We can’t wait to spend more time with this game when it releases later this year.