Every way he turned there was darkness. The boy made his way through a French village that had been turned into a maze by the devastating storm in order to find a small girl. It was a race against the clock as the girl was being hunted by an evil being lurking in the darkness.
There is no doubting that video games are a perfect medium for telling fairytales. Sony Japan Studio want to illustrate this with Rain, and while the story sounds like something you've heard many times before it comes with a twist. The boy, the girl, the monster and all other enemies in the game are invisible.
The only thing that reveals the silhouettes of the characters are the raindrops that keep falling from the sky. The wet outlines reveal frightening creatures that hide in the storm, and it somehow makes it even more scary that you're being chased without ever really knowing what it is that's chasing you.
It's a very interesting concept that works well with the mechanics. You cannot see what the little boy looks like, only his splashing foot steps and the raindrops that land on his body. And there is no way to fight the monsters. The boy is only left with the option of running or hide from the rain by standing underneath a roof or jumping into a deep puddle.
During the first chapters Rain does a good job of introducing new mechanics. The game is at its best when you're learning the rules and explore new ways of taking advantage of the rain and the invisibility. Larger creatures can be used as cover from the rain, certain enemies can see clay that has gotten stuck on the boy's clothes, and puddles can be used to spot invisible monsters.
These new mechanics soon cease to be introduced, and the concept becomes tedious halfway through the three hour long journey. It gets worse as puzzles repeat and levels look identical to previous ones, and sadly the story also fails to engage all the way until the end. The narrative suffers as a result of having been drawn out to span over all the levels, and it's sad to see Sony Japan Studio opting for quantity over quality.
If you're enticed by the concept then Rain is definitely worth a closer look. It's a great concept that combines a dark story with an interesting game mechanic. But it's not the kind of fairytale that will stick with you and truly capture your imagination. Unfortunately.
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