a portfolio of videogame writings
With a boy-meets-girl premise strongly influenced by Ico and a soundtrack fronted by Claude Debussy’s Clare de Lune, Rain has its sights aimed squarely at your heartstrings. And for the most part, Playstation C.A.M.P’s short adventure is a sweet and melancholic fairy tale – the polar opposite of their previous work on the raucous, animal kingdom survival simulator, Tokyo Jungle. But any ambitions to dampen your cheeks with tears are all too quickly thwarted by repetition and a foggy, muddled narrative.
For all the ways that Rain does remind of Ico – its straightforward platforming puzzles; the interdependency of two strangers forging a narrative and mechanical bond; and a group of mysterious, otherworldly antagonists that try and separate you – its central, defining concept is wholly original. We learn, in a watercolour painting-styled opening cut scene, that when an unnamed protagonist boy first lays eyes upon the ethereal figure of an unnamed girl he’s mysteriously drawn towards, he becomes invisible to the ordinary world, just like she is.
Controlling a see-through character might sound like a confusing setup for a videogame, but Rain introduces its simple set of mechanics at a gentle yet brisk enough pace to remain interesting, but never overwhelming. When covered by a roof or awning, only disturbed scenery and damp foot prints indicate your location. When exposed to the perpetually soaked, dream-like interpretation of early twentieth-century Parisian back alleys, however, the collision of water droplets with your figure creates a ghostly blue-white, transparent character model.