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cover-Rain World

Saturday, November 4, 2023 2:25:26 PM

Rain World Review (Vitlök)

This. F**king. Game.
I can comfortably say that beating Rain World is one of my most prized accomplishments when it comes to gaming. Not only because it's very difficult in a refreshingly unique way - more on that later - but also because the spiritual significance of the game, the ending in particular, left an ever-aching scar on my heart that refuses to heal even years later.
There's this general belief that game journalists suck at games; I don't want to get into that right now, but I honestly believe that Rain World simply blindsided a lot of its more mainstream reviewers with its unconventional control scheme and strange, dynamic difficulty. This isn't a 2D platformer. The slugcat cannot really jump like we're used to; instead, it has a handy set of other movement abilities, and learning them in spite of your instincts is required to get anywhere.
And this is on top of the other unusual design choices. The world is incredibly interconnected and if you're persistent enough, there's nothing really preventing you from doing stuff out of order and even skipping a lot of the game. No worries though - the chances of you doing that on accident are very low.
What really makes Rain World shine, however, is the way its difficulty works. Almost all hard games can be learned, and that's what you're expected to do. Learn the steps and execute the dance. But Rain World shuffles things up every time you die. Enemies appear in different locations. A route you took last time might be inaccessible this time around due to a bunch of lizards fighting for turf. Sure, you could try sneaking past. Or even fighting them. But as a general rule you're not a fighter; you have to use a mixture of trickery, stealth, being quick on your feet and occasional violence to get by.
In other words, you're squarely in the lower half of the food chain. Yes, there are creatures that are below you that you can hunt and consume, but most things want to make a snack of you instead. And they will. Oh yes, they will.
The most memorable and glorious moments of the game will be where you will have barely escaped with your life over and over again in a single cycle and miraculously managed to find shelter just before the rain came. And as you start to really understand the workings of the world and the abilities of your slugcat, moments such as those will come more and more often. That's its true power.
On top of all that, Rain World has a spiritual component - one that is not immediately clear, but as you keep playing, you'll begin the true significance of a lot of stuff. I don't think it's practical to completely unravel the plot by yourself due to the insane things you need to do to get some pieces of info, though; I had to consult the wiki to really understand. But it's fine - you'll still get a very satisfying and emotional experience if you go only with what you can find by yourself.
And above all else - it's a very, very unique game, even by indie standards. Difficult, yes. But possible to learn and to master. Complex. Obtuse, perhaps; but so incredibly satisfying. Not for everyone, for sure - and yet, I implore you to check it out. I'm incredibly grateful to the Universe that I did and refused to give up.
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