Rain: Boy meets invisible girl

The concept at the heart of Rain is magical. Looking out his window, a boy witness an invisible girl, her silhouette revealed by the rain as she runs splashing through the night. She's followed by another invisible entity outlined by the rain, a ferocious bipedal monster, which is referred to only as an "unknown."

Fearing for the girl's life, the boy chases after her, following her and the monster through a strange door of light. Emerging on the other side, the boy finds himself in different though familiar world. It looks like his own, a seemingly European city filled with alleyways, though this world is cloaked in perpetual night and never-ending rain. In this world, he too is invisible, his presence revealed only by the rain pattering against his body. The boy sets off in search of the girl, looking for answers. Is he cursed to remain invisible? Can he ever return to his own world?

Those will have to wait though, as the boy is soon running from a pack of different four-legged monsters. He quickly discovers that invisibility has its advantages. By hiding under structures so that the rain doesn't give away his position, the monsters can no longer see him.

Normally, this sort of storybook world would be right up my alley (see: my Unfinished Swan review), but I'm afraid Rain's big trick may be its only trick.%Gallery-189816% Mechanically, Rain is about as simple as it gets. The boy can move through the environment, jump and climb up onto certain obstacles. Using these skills in concert with his invisibility, I was able to evade or otherwise confound the monsters that populate Rain's slick streets.

There are strategically placed shelters from the rain, and darting between them allows the boy to evade the patrolling monsters. My Rain demo played with a few variations on that theme. In some cases, a monster might be hiding in a shelter, making it invisible to the boy and forcing him to lure it out into the rain where it could be seen.

One sequence had me tricking a monster into chasing the boy. Running down an alleyway, I dodged at the last second, watching as the monster slammed into some scaffolding that was preventing the boy from moving on. One hit wasn't enough to bring the scaffolding down though, so I had to get another monster to do the same thing. This was the only real "puzzle" in the demo, and frankly its impact was lessened when I had to do the exact same thing twice.

Granted, the demo only covered the opening segment of Rain, but what was on display wasn't particularly challenging. The core invisibility mechanic is interesting, but even in the few brief minutes I played, I could imagine the novelty wearing off very quickly.

Running through moody, rain-soaked streets to the strains of Debussy's "Clair de Lune" definitely has its appeal though, and who doesn't love a good boy-meets-girl love story? If Rain can deliver on that, maybe one simple, beautiful idea is enough.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.