Now you see me…now you don’t. Japan Studio’s latest offering goes tugging at your aquatic heartstrings.

Reviewing a game like Rain is a true toughie. Much like Flower, the worthiness of the title arguably lies in the uniqueness of its approach versus traditional gameplay elements. That is unless tilting petals with a DualShock is your version of a first person shooter.

I offer the above disclaimer, as Rain is a brilliantly executed concept, an emotional foray via a simple but sophisticated engine. It’s also an extremely limited game, with a short lifespan and frustrating mechanics. Again, satisfaction with the title will be solely determined by what one expects to get out of it, perhaps the best justification to date for the ‘Mojo’ rating at the bottom of this review.

Rain is Japanese storytelling at its peak, a spiritual journey of self-exploration via extension of soul through others. The protagonist – a young but sickly boy – follows an ethereal girl into the seeming abyss, an action he hopes will rescue her from a pursuing, unknown creature possessing nefarious purpose. Who is this girl he is seemingly protecting? What is this creature steadfastly pursuing her? Where does this other world of darkness behind the light reside? Does the girl truly need rescue? Is all this simply imagined?


To tell the story, Japan Studio relies on a wonderful engine where – in this land of never-ending rain – exposure to water reveals our protagonist’s spiritual body. With this exposure comes vulnerability to a near-endless stream of soul ravaging monsters. Seeking shelter hides his presence to literal invisibility, leaving only footsteps as your guide plus a near-complete loss of sense of direction. Rain does a playful and gradual introduction of environmental elements to mix things up, where muddy water will blow your cover, shelter-be-damned. Still, a quick rinse in a clear puddle underscores a needed identity fix.

At its core, Rain is a puzzle game reliant on these water-based elements to advance the story. Pursuing creatures can be distracted to a location by running through puddles, likewise fooled (and I use that term loosely as they’re on autopilot once distracted) into interacting with environmental pieces. Playing with musical instruments lures suspicious creatures toward the surrounding area, enabling the boy to continue advancement to the next stage location and puzzle.


Graphically, the world of Rain is solid. An old school Paris…with subtle new school elements thrown in…combines with a satisfying Claude Debussy piano score to capture the mood to a tee. The starkness of the rain – and the journey within – truly comes to the forefront. Finally, the embedded narration is simple but mood clever.

Now the bad stuff. Rain, the game, is quite formulaic and – despite wonderfully imaginative design – is both limited and boring. Solving puzzles and monster obstacles quickly becomes a chore, one hampered by awful camera work, limited controllability of the boy, boring platforming elements, and seemingly no imagination to the levels themselves. The monsters are so infinitely uninspiring, that foiling their efforts results in little to no satisfaction. The reward for success is even more lack of inspiration.

The rationale behind this glaring dichotomy becomes clear after but a little bit of research. Rain is a product of Sony’s PlayStation C.A.M.P (Creator Audition Mash Up Project), what they declare a talent search development program for Japanese residents. Rain is the picture perfect encapsulation of this program, where a brilliant concept is the King for a Day, but lacks the panache and polish that a traditionally developed title would apply toward realization of the concept. It’s a sad, realization in many ways.

I would best describe Rain as a ‘poor man’s Ico,’ where the latter and still celebrated title likewise suffers from gameplay limitations of its own. The problem is, Ico’s bloom lighting and technical prowess were impressive as an early PS2 title, with Rain far too closely resembling one of this earlier console’s titles in overall execution.


Rain tells a beautiful tale, and with it brings something truly unique to the PS3. It does, so however, with a mixed bag, hampered by formulaic and flawed gameplay elements. [6.7]

  • Imaginative premise
  • Clever environmental interaction
  • Something different
  • Formulaic levels and puzzles
  • Poor camera angles
  • Very short
Quote: "Rain tells a beautiful tale, and with it brings something truly unique to the PS3. It does, so however, with a mixed bag, hampered by formulaic and flawed gameplay elements."
Reviewed by Paul Stuart | 10.27.13 | Platform Reviewed: Playstation 3




SCE Japan

Action Adventure

US Release
October '13



$14.99 US
5.1 Surround
HD 480-720p