Lost in the Rain is one of the most mysterious and melancholic games I’ve played in a while. Originally released as Rain to European and Western markets, the adventure video game developed by SCE Japan Studio published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 3 was launched last October 2013.
Intriguing story, unique gameplay and haunting music is what stands out in this game. It actually reminded me a bit of the adventure / art game Journey in a more dark and depressing way, since it has the same indie and experimental vibe. There’s a strong focus on the puzzle platformer elements instead of battles using relatively simple mechanics, which sets it apart from traditional adventure games.
You play the game as an unnamed little boy who ventures outside to follow the silhouette of a little girl you see in the rain. Upon following her, you also turn invisible, and have to navigate a world filled with invisible creatures roaming
the streets. The story mostly deals with the challenges you must endure to find the girl in a strange invisible world. Not much is explained about the world you’re in and you’re free to draw your own conclusions by the time the story ends.
GRAPHICS & MUSIC
The game’s stylized graphics is one of the best selling points of the game. There’s a stark contrast between the cutscenes (the introduction and epilogue) rendered in lovely animated watercolor drawings to the dark and dreary town battered by constant rain. Each chapter has a distinctive look which can evoke nostalgia. While playing the game, I couldn’t help but remember exploring through abandoned houses and warehouses as a kid and remember small-town fairs in the Night Circus chapter. Chapter 7: An Unknown Town in particular felt like an Escherian nightmare with its Labyrinth-like stairs and countless windows and doors leading everywhere and nowhere.
The music adds a whole other level to the game and helps create a beautifully sad atmosphere. The characters themselves are silent and can’t communicate with each other, their screams often falling silent in the night. The use of classical music (the game’s theme song is “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy) and dischordant piano tunes to signify dangerous creatures is very minimalist yet deliberate. The overall silence can be a bit overwhelming, making it feel like a very dark and lonely world.
Lost in the Rain unfolds like a silent French film, with the narration of the story appearing in text on the screen as you move forward. The creative angles give you a hint of where you’re supposed to go. It’s not an open world at all, and the
game seems to push you in one direction. There’s a sense of urgency to move forward towards the light and battle against the darkness.
What makes it really interesting in terms of gameplay is that the characters are mostly invisible. In the rain, their silhouettes are visible so it’s easy to move around. Unfortunately, this also reveals your location to the unknown creatures that are trying to hunt you down. While walking under roofed areas and canopies, you are completely invisible, except for the subtle hints of your location seen in watery footprints and the random items on the road that get knocked over when you move. You can interact with the rain and the elements. You can run through puddles and your feet and footsteps are visible when you step through mud.
The puzzles are straightforward (ex. looking for keys to open gates, pushing blocks to climb to higher ground, etc.), and can feel repetitive, but there’s still some satisfaction every time you clear a puzzle, defeat a creature, or retreat to the safety of being invisible.
Unlike most action adventures where you’re equipped with a weapon and can fight enemies head on, here, you must rely on stealth, good timing and puzzle solving here to advance. You have to figure out how to use the existing environment to avoid being seen at all. In some occasions, you can use the unknown creatures against each other. Speed is another important factor when it comes to running away from creatures once you’ve been spotted.
The game is short but sweet and I ended up finishing it in about 4 hours in one sitting on my first playthrough. Like a book you can’t put down, it’s one of those games that just draws you in. You feel sad for the characters that you want to stick around and see if there’s a happy ending. Finishing the game will unlock memories, which reveals more of the backstories behind the characters and will hopefully answer some burning questions, so there is a little replay value if you want to know more. But you’ll probably be satisfied with one playthrough. Check out the trailer below.
The game is perfect for all these rainy afternoons we’ve been having, when you’re stuck at home. It’s particularly good if you’re feeling depressed or are sick in bed. It may just encourage you to go out and see the world or reconnect with friends after a storm.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10
Game screenshots from Wikia: Rain