Survival Of The Slugcat: Rain World Game Review



It’s good to assume that any moving thing in “Rain World” that isn’t the player is trying to kill you.

Samuel Pappas, Staff Writer

I’ve got a bone to pick with the portrayal of nature in comparison to the industrialized society we all live in.

Humans always seem to make everything worse. You have to follow laws, pay taxes and deal with the fact that pollution is slowly destroying the world. In a world without society, wouldn’t things be more peaceful?

Rain World is a game that sets the record straight. You play as a slugcat, an adorable creature that can climb and throw objects, but that’s about it. You are separated from your family and forced to fend for yourself in a world completely indifferent to your survival.

In Rain World, everyone is part of the food chain. As a slugcat, you can hunt small insects and scavenge fruits easily enough, but cross paths with any of the more formidable creatures also on the prowl for some food and you’ll quickly be reminded how weak you truly are.

Rain World is a beautiful and humbling experience. The game itself is a sidescroller with a massive world. You are free to explore in any direction, but a small yellow drone-like companion will sometimes show up to give the player hints on where they should go to continue the story, find food, avoid predators or find a shelter.

In case you thought Giant ferocious lizards or an army of spiders wasn’t enough, you must also contend with the rain. You have limited time to explore and find food during the day. When the rain comes, it will crush you immediately if you are out in the open air, and if you go underground, it will flood every chamber and every tunnel until you drown. The only escape from both the rain and predators are small shelters distributed around the map.

What sets Rain World apart from other 2D exploration games is the makeup of its world. A game like Castlevania or Hollow Knight deliberately places enemies in certain areas to provoke the player into a fight, but Rain World does the complete opposite. Other animals explore the map freely. Just like you, they need to survive, so the insects, scavengers, lizards, salamanders, vultures and giant grotesque undersea monsters all follow the same rules. Surviving the odds in Rain World is a matter of using your wits to overcome the limitations of your character. As you explore and learn more about the wilds you inhabit, knowledge is your best friend. Rain World is light on explanations for mechanics and has only a brief tutorial, so experimenting with tools and taking risks is where the game truly shines. If a large predator blocks the way, you can trick it into fighting other predators and using the commotion to slip past. You could throw a spear and slip past while it’s dazed and confused. You can even fool certain creatures into thinking you are a larger threat than you actually are.

Survival is the only law of Rain World. Even the most terrifying monsters only attack you for their own health. Every life you take allows the slugcat to live another day and every time the slug cat is killed it means another creature gets to survive instead. It’s up to the player whether or not the slugcat will persevere and be reunited with their kin, or if they will become a meal for something else instead.

Whatever your individual experience might be, Rain World is a wonderful game that fully delivers on its vision of a world dominated by survival of the fittest. Every predator and prey is at once visually stunning, wonderfully unique and immediately identifiable as a friend, foe or something else entirely. Just remember that all creatures still need to hide when it starts to rain. 

Within hours of my first playthrough, I felt like a caveman who lived and died on instinct. Cautious of faint outlines of predators and mysterious sounds emanating from caves. Tirelessly searching for a source of food while remaining more paranoid than an immunocompromised Baby Boomer when a college student sneezes while sitting near them.

Rain World is a brilliant game of intrigue and mystery. The world we live in can be cruel and indifferent to the suffering of living things, but it can also be a very beautiful and great reminder of what makes living so much fun in the first place.

You can buy Rain World on any system for $20. I recommend it to everyone who likes tight spaces, dark caves, giant spiders and being eaten by giant spiders. I also recommend it if you dislike any of the things I just mentioned because it’s time you stopped crying about being eaten by giant spiders.