February 26, 2023

Rain World: Downpour Review | WalaWalaGames

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Rain World: Downpour Review | WalaWalaGames

By Joel | February 26, 2023
Rain World: Downpour Review | WalaWalaGames

Rain World: Downpour plays like a three-in-one compilation: part Prince of Persia, part Slime, and part modern modern day exploration. And it works because of the high-energy animation, some genuinely beautiful visuals, and custom mechanics that are a little more sensuous than we expect in a game about, well, cats.

Downpour is the expansion to developer Akupara Games, Rain World, released in 2019. It did very well to warrant a DLC, and likely a true sequel will be out sooner than later.

As the game opens, the camera pans and shifts to offer glimpses of the world of pastel colors and soft hues, then zooms in to focus on a furry white creature curled between two rocks. Described at slugcats, these felines move cautiously and curiously about, utilizing their slick bodies to get in and out of tight spaces.

The story doesn't say too much about the origins or background of these furry felines; we only know that they are both predator and prey and that they follow basic instincts to survive: they hunt to eat, seek shelter when cold, and flee (or fight) when confronted by predators. They can jump, climb, catch, and throw objects and move effectively around the labyrinth of mazes, almost like goo. That's it for the plot, but it's enough to go by. After all, a good story leaves out essential parts to let players conjure up the "if" and "why's" of a given situation.

Rain World: Downpour Review | WalaWalaGames

Raining Cats

Downpour is a large DLC, and yes, you'll get lost at first. Thankfully, random pop-ups help players to maneuver and how to catch and consume food. Instinctively, however, our furry friend is aware that staying in one place too long is dangerous and attempts to make his way out. Hence, the adventure begins.

Each level involves going from point A to point B through a series of tunnels and underground passages. In some areas, you can slither between them through shafts with small openings, while others require you to climb up vines and ropes that dangle from high above. Either way, the goal is to make it out in one piece staying ever so vigilant to avoid the nasty predators that lurk deep within.

When you do encounter an enemy, that is when the game really starts to pick up. The boss battles in Downpour truly captivate and awe. These scenes are animated so fluidly, and envision strange sights so colorfully, that there is real excitement when encountered. The giant spider-like enemy, for example, with its massive legs trying to stomp on your puny slugcat pumps the adrenaline as you weave in and out of danger while also strafing to pick up spears and throw them towards the enemy's weak points.

It's an exciting, engaging battle of back and forth tactics, requiring agile footwork and timely actions that reels you in and keeps you glued to the edge of your seat throughout. Without a doubt, these encounters are some of the most impressive ones the game has to offer.

Rain World: Downpour Review | WalaWalaGames

The Cats Meow

Downpour has many new features, including Challenge and Safari mode, but the biggest one introduces six unique slugcats, each with their own set of personalized traits and abilities. A red one, for example, is a fierce combatant who doesn't shy away from fights. At the same time, the purple one can pull needles from its body to protect itself, and a yellow slugcat has the uncanny talent to manipulate objects it finds along the way.

Players will be tasked with picking the right combination of them to face whatever challenge awaits them to progress; fulfilling objectives successfully relies on using the right slugcat at the right time.

Graphically, the game world is a visually beautiful place, as if drawn from a dream. The levels are rendered in gentle tones, from bright and cheery shades to subdued hues that blend almost imperceptibly into the world around them.

Tall and foreboding features, like ledges and structures, rise imposingly against the background and seem far beyond one's reach. Yet, throughout this unique world lies a breathtaking beauty that can only be realized when standing still.

Rain World: Downpour Review | WalaWalaGames

Fun Feline

If there's a knock against the game, it is that it goes on much longer than it has to. Downpour boasts over 100+ areas to explore, but that to me, is about 50 areas too much. This is especially true when you're performing the same repeated patterns repeatedly, and the only changes are the subtle designs of the landscape.

However, Downpour is another worthy entry in the recent renaissance of seek-and-explore type games. In a world that has already given us a game about cats in "Stray," it's a reminder that gaming is perhaps the most liberating of past times, free of politics, plausibility, and even the matters of real-world consequences. If you enjoy games with deep explorations and immersive gameplay, Downpour should be at the top of your list.

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