Like its strange and wondrous inhabitants do to escape the long spells of “bone-crushingly intense rains”, Rain World seems to have been in something of a state of hibernation – at least news-wise. Following its successful Kickstarter campaign, the intention was to launch at the end of 2014.
Well, according to its Steam page, Rain World is supposedly now coming to PC and Mac sometime this year. Fortunately, it looks like it might have been worth the extra time in the oven. A series of mini videos published today by the developer on imgur showcase the survival platformer’s sumptuous retro-stylised artwork and the fluidity and complexity of its 2D game world. What we see is a darkly beautiful, alienesque and threatening landscape that immediately conjures up the timeless aesthetics of 16-bit classics like Another World and Flashback. Don’t you just want to get in there and explore it?
Set in a rotting post-industrial landscape now overgrown and overrun by wildlife, Rain World will see you play as a nomadic slugcat that’s both predator and prey. As the blurb puts it:
You are a slugcat. The world around you is full of danger, and you must face it – alone. Separated from your family in a devastating flood, you must hunt for food and shelter between terrifying torrential downpours that threaten to drown all life. Climb through the ruins of an ancient civilization, evade the jaws of vicious predators, and discover new lands teeming with strange creatures and buried mysteries. Find your family before death finds you!
According to artist and programmer Joar Jakobsson, writing on the PlayStation Blog, the game will simulate a living ecosystem with persistent creatures roaming the game’s 1,600 screens and 12 regions in search of grub and shelter. Within it you’ll be an insignificant part of a large and chaotic food chain and given no special preference by the world’s inhabitants – if you’re lucky, you may be left alone if there’s a better dish on offer nearby. Creatures will also remember you and react according to your previous behaviour. There’s even the possibility of friendships resulting from acts of kindness.
Consciously wanting to avoid many of the now all-too-familiar conventions of the survival genre, Jakobsson also point outs that “You don’t gain stats or equipment; it’s the knowledge you accumulate that makes previously insurmountable obstacles possible to overcome”.
It sounds as ambitious and intriguing as it is pretty to look at. If Videocult can pull off all that it promises, Rain World could easily be one of the best and most memorable indie games of the year. And isn’t that little slugcat just adorable?