2021 is the year of Rain World (and so is this year)

So, I’m gonna wait until I’ve finished the game (and probably watched some of those videos) to properly consider the themes, but: While I agree that moment totally recontextualised the game, my personal feelings are more in line with the slugcat I drew. I’ll definitely see how I go over the rest of the game, but as it stands, I think it was more interesting before I understood language.

Well, I’ve given it a shot. Insert “I have no idea what I’m doing” here. Kinda fascinating and a lot of cool design implementations, like the map.

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Current update: Have any of your ever learnt a word and been like “well, I’m never going to use that, but cool that I know it now,” and then years later suddenly find a reason to use it? Just had that experience with “Lagomorph”

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I use that word often but that’s mostly because my family has a rabbit :slight_smile:

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So, I’ve finished the game now, and my thoughts on it are… complicated. First of all, I’d like to say that even at its worst, Rain World is an excellent game. My frustration mainly comes from that, to me, the game is at it’s best when it does less, not more, and at it’s best I’d say it’s truly something special. (Content Warning Food for a metaphor here) It’s like having an amazing main, but with too many sides. They’re great sides, maybe I’d even have them as a whole meal on their own! But together, I have to force myself to get through it all, and they cover up the taste of the main.

I know this isn’t the first time I’ve come out of a piece of media feeling this way, so it might just be a me problem, and I definitely am interested to discuss y’all’s opinions about the game. One thing that came to mind first off though, have any of you read 17776 by Jon Bois?

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I read the beginning of 17776, and need to continue it. I can definitely see where you’re relating it to this.

I can see where you’re coming from, even if I ultimately have a different feeling about it. For me, all those side parts, while they may dilute this more “pure” experience that the game was embodying without them. (Unless you’re talking about stuff like the jackalopes being a pain to navigate with. That’s really frustrating for sure. There are definitely some mechanical elements like that that I think could use some refinement.)

In specific, you seemed to gesture at this feeling that being able to understand language and getting glimpse of more of the lore kinda watered it down for you? Question: did you engage with any of the pearls with Moon? But for me, that lore transformed the game for me. It contextualized my frustrating and difficulties throughout the game into a worldview I didn’t even know I was beginning to hold. And importantly, despite starting to learn more about the world, Rain World’s world never gets any less mysterious. Some questions are answered. But you also discover new questions, questions that are even more chilling and puzzling than the questions you had before.

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I took the pearl from above Five Pebbles to Moon, and was gonna do more 'cos I was annoyed with both the observer and Pebbles, but when I realised the pearls I’d given away weren’t gonna respawn I decided to just look it up after.

Probably too much text

For me, the best parts of the game was about playing as a wild animal. Early on, I had the impression that the slugcats were only a few inches tall at most (the lizards being skink or gecko sized in this interpretation). Of course, that didn’t really hold up once I met the interface of a godlike AI and found it was the same size as me, but I’m gonna start from that point to try and explain what I saw in the game.

Consider this for an example: when a spider catches a bug, it tangles them up, waits for them to get exhausted, injects them with paralyzing venom and digestive enzymes, and lets them be dissolved from the inside, and this is hardly the cruelest fate a bug can meet. On top of that, many live in landscapes completely alien to them. Does a spider know what a faucet is, or could a moth comprehend a bug zapper? Their lives are short, brutal, and arbitrary, but they’re not able to lament their fate. They wake up every day, search for food, reproduce, then die, because that is just what life is for them.

Slugcats appear much the same at first. When you’re pulling against one of those horrid vines, and there’s nothing nearby to fight it off with, you can struggle as long as you like, but eventually it will wear you down, drag you back to it’s hole, and digest you in whatever horrid way plants gain nutrients from meat. Barring some truly unfortunate cosmic events, none of us are likely to experience anything like that in our lifetimes, but it is a story that is happening around us every day. Personally, I reckon we’re closer in time to our ancestors living that kind of life than any kind of bodily immortality, so a window into that perspective is useful for understanding our context in the world.

And to be explicit about my comparisons with 17776 and Rain World: I see 17776 as a story about making the most of immortality, which doesn’t touch on escaping immortality despite how terrifyingly dreary parts of its world are. The parts of Rain World that explore immortality are about escaping immortality though, not touching on making the most of it despite how alien the world is, or the gameplay’s focus on individual moments. I’m not sure what to make of the comparison in totality, but I do find it interesting how it illuminates what areas each story cared about, and what ones they didn’t.

Oh, I loved the jackalopes though, as soon as I’d finished screaming XD

Since I probably framed my last post in way that wasn’t good to respond to, some other thoughts that will hopefully be more fun to discuss:

What’s y’all’s favourite area? Was probably Memory Crypts for me, for being the most alien outside the iterators, and for having a really strong theme without any new mechanics. I still have no idea what those fleshy things inside those infinite cages are.

One thing I also wanted to say was I definitely agree with Austin needing to play this game. Some of the lore pearls with Moon sounded like a Friends at the Table intro quote, real big Divine Principality energy from the Ancients.

So, I wanna respond! Spoilers in first two, spoiler safe in Re: Austin.

Re: Your Qualms

I totally get where you’re coming from, and I wanna be clear I’m not trying to convince you otherwise, but I do wanna offer an alternative perspective on where this game goes with that.

It is true that when you discover more about the world, about the lore, and about the nature of things in Rain World, there is a level of demystification that occurs. Like you said, the game is very much about being a little animal running around and trying to survive. But you then discover knowledge about something beyond that. About a greater world beyond survival and food and death. That there is something beyond all of this, another plane of existence, another plane of understanding and purpose that transcends the world you see in front of you.

But after that… you don’t stop being an animal. You don’t get to stop surviving. You don’t stop having to suffer. No matter how smart we get, no matter how wise we get, no matter how enlightened we become, we cannot escape the simple necessities of our bodies. The life of a slugcat is a difficult one. And knowing how futile all of this ends up being makes it much harder. You know there is more to life and death than this. But you still have to. Have to eat. Have to sleep. Have to try.

It makes the desire to swim deep into the depths, and disappear completely… understandable. Why would a slugcat force themselves to live through all that, forever and ever, when Nirvana is an option?

Just wanted to provide my view. :slight_smile:

Re: Fave Area

What does it say about how much this game rules that you said that about the Memory Crypts and I’m like “im sorry the fleshy what now?” Completely missed those things. But I also am like “yeah that sounds like something this game would have.” this game is great

As for my favorite, I would probably say the Shaded Citadel just because it is so memorably terrifyingly. I hate going there, which is why it’s cool. It feels so much more nightmarish than everywhere else in that game. I think every single area in the game is awesome, though. I don’t think there’s any area that I dislike. They all have something fascinating and cool in them, and even the intro areas are really exciting and great starts to the game.

I will also encourage @Glorgu to tell his story about going through The Leg/The Wall, which is… great.

Re: Austin

Believe me, it has taken effort to not use my paltry amount of leverage as a mod to write a letter asking one Austin Walker to play this game. I have no idea if he’d like it, frankly, as it’s a pretty polarizing game, but like… itssogood. I think the incoherence, the emergent mechanics, the unique challenges and world of the game, and the links to Buddhism are all things that could appeal to him. And I just want more people to play this game!

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An alternative perspective was exactly what I wanted! I thought by focusing on the parts we differed on might be the best way to start discussing the themes, rather than just going back and forth on parts we agree are great.

First Part

So, I get where you’re coming from, but there’s a few points I want to dig into a bit more.

First off, I feel it’s understating it a bit to say you “discover” more about the world when a lot of that understanding is literally forced into your head by Five Pebbles. The game brings a theme of uplifts into the story, and while it handles it well (how terrible Five Pebbles appears, and how strong a transition between halves it has, for instance), I do feel like it’s another element that distracts the amazing core of living as an animal in a food chain.

Also, you ask why a slugcat would force themselves to keep living one particular answer comes to mind:

See Below

slugcats

Sure, life may be hard, but curling up to hibernate next to the ones you love, with a full stomach of mothbats, is something the slugcat wanted, but never gets to reclaim. Sure, maybe after an eternity with their family, they still would want to transcend, but that is not something we get to see (probably because of the technical difficulties of creating a family of NPC slugcats, which is fair, but still disappointing).

All that being said, I do find your take on the game to be both solid and meaningful, and the game does go a long way to give depth to that reading. Just for me, I find questions of spirituality and purpose less interesting than questions of how we physically exist in our world. As modern humans, I see us as spending a lot of time living in the abstract; what we want to do, what we want to become, ect, and significantly less time considering ourselves as living animals, that eat and breathe and take up space, and who’ll one day die (though my perspective might be coloured by my personal circumstances, I can’t say how well that applies to other people). While the game does a good job in addressing both these angles, I feel like the second half and ending skewing towards the ‘higher’ forms of existence leaves it on the side I find less interesting.

Perhaps it would be worthwhile comparing it to both Outer Wilds and Untitled Goose Game? Comparing the themes of those games (as stars of 2019) probably played a large part in my feelings about how this game balances its themes?

Second Part

I wound up absolutely blazing through the Shaded Citadel the first time through, probably because I couldn’t see enough to distract me >_< While coming back it once I’d gotten my square and glow let me know how scary it should have been, I didn’t wind up experiencing the spiderpedes first hand. I am not looking forward to it if I ever choose to replay the game though

I would love to hear @Glorgu’s story about going through the Leg, though wouldn’t want to pressure him or anything!

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Spoilers ahead

With regards to reasons-to-live, I agree with you! Despite my interpretation, I don’t think annihilation is the answer to a slugcat’s problems. And again, I’m not even remotely spiritual. But this is why I ultimately find Rain World to be so haunting, because it is, in the end, a kind of tragedy.

I guess my point (which I got a bit distracted from) was this: what I think is effective about that mid-late game transformation is that, despite your slugcat’s “enlightenment”, the game does not stop being about surviving. Slugcat is still bound to its body’s needs and pains. Slugcat is still an animal. And so are we.

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@vehemently @Peng
Howdy y’all. Sorry I haven’t responded, I’m still on break and only just caught this!

Of course I will tell my story, it’s like one of the things that took Rain World from great to an all time favorite. But to give context to the story, I’ll be going back to the very beginning, March 2018…

Big Ol’ Spoilers ahead btw If the name Five Pebbles doesn’t mean anything to you, I would not read the below. I will be using pictures of maps and some advanced Rain World mechanics to explain my journey.

TLDR I accidentally sequence broke the game by going through an area backwards that really wasn’t meant to be navigated backwards.

Spoilers

So, Rain World came out, and I was really excited for it. All of the gifs for the game looked beautiful, slug cat was unreasonably cute. I was very excited to get my hands on the game. And in playing it, I was even more excited, the game held its secrets so close to the chest. What’s going on? What are these symbols that change every time I sleep (I initially thought of them as weekdays).

I was really enjoying the experience overall, but hit a few of the games hard edges one night and quit playing, and stopped playing for a while, knowing I was going to return again at some point.

For the next two years I’d try to return to the game every six months or so, really intrigued by the game, but hitting some misunderstanding or rough patch that would cause me to quit for the night and much longer, but with the understanding that there was some really cool things going on and I’d want to return.


Through that time I had heard vehemently talking about the game and being incredibly high on it, in a manner that felt familiar to my brief experiences with the game. At some point we started talking about Below - and entirely different game and one I’d argue is so much more bullshit than Rain World - and the conversation moved to Rain World and I mentioned I kept trying to get into it. vehemently was able to explain some of the mechanics that I had some questions about and sent me a link to A 45 PAGE GOOGLE DOC on all of the movement tricks in Rain World (which becomes relevant for this story). At this point I’m ready to give the game another shot.


My initial run is not hopeful. I end up travelling into the Drainage System - which is just a fucked up area. Remembering from previous playthrough that there are other areas to explore from the Outskirts, I just restart the whole game. At this point I really start to get along with the game, I have just enough information to be able to figure out the broad systems and I fall in love with the game. It’s very clear to me this is goty stuff. I just needed some on-ramping.

Things go fairly smoothly for a long time. I’m hitting some blocks here and there, but nothing I feel I can’t overcome with a reasonable amount of patience - and then I hit the Underhang. Not that the underhang was more challenging than the other area, in fact, I was really enjoying this branch of the journey, they introduced some really neat platforming challenges that were fun to traverse! But, this is the area where I fucked up.

So in the underhang, there is an area where the non-stop platforming of The Leg sort of slows down and you hit an area that you can wander more freely in. In the area I found a door, with a very high Karma cost, this door:
image

So up to that point, my general rule of navigation in the game had been that high cost Karma gates on one side that are cheap on the other side aren’t meant to be entered that way. It made sense to me. The game is largely open, but there seems to be an ideal path, and most of the time that is indicated through gate costs. I’m figuring out the ways this game communicates, I’m so smart!

So I instead continue to go left through the area instead:
image

Around the area I labelled “Bad” on the map, I should have figured something was up. It wasn’t terrible or anything, but navigating that area was a bit rougher around the edges than I had come to expect from the game.

However, I managed to get past the area, and found a cheaper door, and a nice place to sleep right next to it!

I did spend some time in the Chimney Canopy, but not much was very accessible from where I was, so I went back to the exterior and decided to start going up.

This was a mistake.

So this is the Wall:


For this branch of the journey, I am at the bottom.

So I spent most of a Saturday just trying to get through this one stretch from the one sleepy area to the other. With a couple of breaks in between when I was getting too salty. I was becoming familiar with how the game presented new challenges. And to an extent, this area felt like a natural evolution of ideas introduced before. Like, I had just gone through a gauntlet with my little grappley bug, and had experienced some fun vertical traversing. This was just more of that, but with the training wheels taken away. I had not had to focus mostly on traversing an area vertically, and it presented an interesting challenge. But I should have considered that maybe, just maybe I was going the wrong way.

Here’s what should have indicated that to me:


This little circle, this is Lizard Central.

It was basically a little commune for orange lizards, and navigating through it while being chased by lizards was really tough, especially that top leap! Not just that, but at the end when you made it out of Lizard Central, in order to continue upwards, you needed a spear to be able to stick into the wall as I have labeled. And there were no spears on that side of the gap, so you needed to take a spear through Lizard Central all the way up! At that point I was a little stunned, even for a game that asks a lot out of the player, it felt like that was too much to ask them to use the spear sticking mechanic to travel through an area as hot as Lizard Central. I was calling bullshit on the game. I would have been largely okay with it if at least afterwards, there was some respite. But no:

It led right to one of the most difficult to navigate rooms in the game. Specifically that area of sticks was always filled to the brim with lizards. It felt basically like a coinflip whether or not it’d even be possible to navigate the room depending on how many lizards hung out around there.

This was all just bullshit. I was getting real upset.

Eventually I made through up to the second sleepy spot on the wall. It was a huge relief. The journey upwards from there was a lot less dangerous and navigating was much more straight-forward until I entered this room:

It may not be immediately apparent without a slugcat for scale, but that exit on the right is not accessible from jumping or climbing, and you can’t jump high enough to throw a spear at the bit of wall there. Thankfully, this is where I remembered the move-set document vehemently linked me to. In there I was able to find out when you do a backflip with slug cat, you throw downwards. What this meant was I could throw the spear into the ground, use that additional height to throw at the wall and make my own passage:

I made it through the passage, met Five Pebbles, and felt pretty good about my accomplishments.

At this point I decided I should reach out to vehemently to thank them for the move-set document and all the advice. In talking with her, she quickly let me know that was not the way to get to Five Pebbles, and I had in fact sequence broke the game. And that I missed out on a really cool area behind the high karma gate back in the underhang.

Not wanting to miss out on cool stuff, I started to make my journey back through the underhang. And let me tell you, The Wall makes a lot more sense as an area going down it than up it. It feels much more in line with what the game generally asks of you. But I’ll always be proud that I accidentally sequence broke the game, and made it up an area that you really aren’t supposed to.

From that point onward, I won’t say the game was a breeze, but I never really felt like the game was being bullshit. What a good game!

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This is a good story. On my playthrough, I’d been working out some frustration at my newly found sentience at what you called Lizard Central, so I immediately recognised it as Lizard Fight Club XD

While that must have been hell in itself, I remember looking for ways back as I was headed down the Wall, and the part that scared me was about 2-3 screens above the more lizards image, where there were a bunch of poles and one of those horrible fake pole plants. It might just be because I’m scared of those things, but I didn’t see the way back through that screen, but clearly you found one!

Oh that part sucked too! Just not as much as Lizard Central, definitely just ate it a few times to The fake pole plants

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Something I love is that, despite it being 1000% out of intended sequence, the game never stops you from doing that, it never locks you out, it just lets you go through it that way, and that’s why this game rules

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Hi all. I’ve been enjoying this discussion on 2017’s secret best game as a forum lurker and decided to register in order to express what I think is so special about Rain World. It’s not a metroidvania or survival game, it’s a capital “J” Journey game in ways that almost all games I’ve played are not. Everything about Rain World is set up to put you on a journey, both physically and spiritually.

I think the key part is this is the world design. It is effectively open from the start and massive in ways few games are. In fact there are so many screens in the game that a typical playthrough probably misses a huge portion of them. By coupling this almost unknowable scale with the sheer unpredictable danger of the world the game pushes you ever onward. There is little motivation to poke and prod every corner of an area once you’ve found food and shelter and a way forward, you need to keep moving towards what Slugcat hopes is family, but may be something else entirely.

The game isn’t about fully internalizing an environment, mastering it, and moving through it with ease as you unlock all it’s secrets. It’s about scrambling towards your simple goal any way you can and sometimes realizing with dread that you may have made a deadly wrong turn, and having that dread deepen when you realize that THIS actually is the right path.

Which is why I think the “thing” that happens is so important to the game’s structure. The eventual recontextualization of the world and your place in it is key. Just as the game physically pushes you forward, the “thing” pushes Slugcat and the player forward on their internal journey. There is no going back after that point, you just have to continue on knowing what you know.

The only other game that I can immediately think of that gives me a similar feeling, though through very different means, is Inside. It has that same sense of forward momentum, discovery without lessening the mystery, and sense of danger and change.

Anyway, thanks for making this thread and everybody for sharing their interesting thoughts. I’ve loved reading them and thinking fondly back on the game.

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Multiple times since finishing the game I’ve considered going back to see some of the screens I missed, but then I remember that the screens I missed are all
image

and I decide there was a very good reason for missing them.

On the topic of other games with similar feelings, has anyone here played Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey? I must have gotten caught on the immortality part to not have brought that up before! There’s some obvious comparisons; the core loop is about learning an area and finding food sources, before returning home to rest, then pushing into unknown areas once you’re ready. With a triple A budget, Ancestors is able to achieve things Rain World would clearly love to, like having AI companions of the same species, or dropping vistas of scale on you when you enter a new area. But despite this vast gap of resources, Rain World still manages to outperform Ancestors both thematically and mechanically. I’d love to hear the thoughts of anyone else who’s played both though!

And also, since the year of Rain World is drawing to a close, I’d like to thank vehemently for making us aware of this event. Should we keep an eye out for what 2022 might be the year of, or is someone else waiting to jump in to tell us instead? Either way, thanks, I’m glad I checked out this game!

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Oh my friends :slight_smile: every year is the year of Rain World!

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Hello fellow slugcat fans,

Just recently, Videocult announced the first official Rain World DLC, Downpour.

They revealed all this info in a livestream today. Downpour is a huge expansion featuring 5 new playable slugcats, 2 new game modes, thousands of new rooms, new creatures, and more!

The new slugcats originally spawned as a community mod called More Slugcats, but the creators have been brought in and the mod, along with tons of new stuff, are being made canon. The game is also now being published by Akupara Games, no longer by Adult Swim; it apparently took quite a while to reacquire the rights, and Akupara is helping them bring Rain World to parity across platforms and onto new systems.

I’m so excited!!!

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Also, a quick aside: there is still the unknown “signal” project, presumably Videocult’s next game, which the devs confirmed is still being worked on. :eyes: