Rain of Reflections: Chapter 1 (PC) Review
Multiple gameplay styles
Visually pleasing graphics
No manual saving
Science-fiction and dystopian world-building go together like pizza and pepperoni. Whether because it allows them to comment on social change or because of the many possibilities inherent to the theme, authors make heavy use of this genre sub-type. Rain of Reflections is no exception to this statement. Combining many previous ideas, it weaves the tales of three different individuals together into one captivating epic. With three chapters planned, currently, only one has been made available to play. This first chapter is the story of Doctor Wilona, a scientist working on a cure for humanity’s unexplained infertility. Part of this quest for a cure requires the constant confinement of the last naturally born child. This is something that Dr. Wilona can no longer stand and has made it her mission to set them free. Despite its relatively short playtime, Rain of Reflections offers a challenging and thought-provoking experience.
Like many of its contemporaries, Rain of Reflections is an amalgam of different genres. The first part of gameplay acts like your standard point-and-click adventure. You are required to examine your surroundings for both information and items that serve as solutions to problems. Thankfully interactions are intuitive and require very little in the way of item carrying. This is because most of your issues are solved with the second part of game-play, hacking. Hacking is accomplished through a serious of visual-based puzzles that must be solved to complete your goal. While some can be challenging, most are pretty simple and can be accomplished within two tries. The third part of gameplay, called encounters, feels at odds with the other two but is the most entertaining to play. Encounters are formatted similar to a tactics genre, requiring you to move yourself and allies across a gridded field to a specific goal. These encounters can are accomplished by either stealth or combat, but have many factors that can affect unit performance.
Gameplay is mostly positive with precise, consistent functions and smooth transitioning between types. That being said there are a few style choices that are very frustrating. The first notable choice is the removal of manual saving. While it’s understandable that the developers want you to live with your decisions, being beholden to the auto-save feature forces you to redo often long and drawn out events. Which is the next big issue, there is no skip feature to dialogue and cut scenes. If it’s your first play-through that’s usually not a problem, but as stated before, with your reset points being pre-determined, you will find yourself doing these events multiple times.
Whether it is the thematic differences between the art deco style of the wealthy and political-grunge style of the poor or just the wet surface effects caused by rain, graphics are well presented and reflect the themes and surroundings quite well. Combined with poignant background music and competent voice acting, Rain of Reflections is just pleasing to watch. That said, nothing is perfect as both areas fall short in almost the same area. For graphics, it’s facial expressions. Closeups reveal wooden dead expressions that do nothing to show what the character is feeling or the tone of the scene. For voice acting, it’s the script. For character interactions, the dialogue is clunky and lacks emotion, giving it an almost technical feel to its prose.
Rain of Reflections is a compelling science fiction adventure. With enticing visuals and unique gameplay, it more than makes up for its currently short playtime. Fans of modern sci-fi should definitely give this a try if only to see what happens in the next two chapters.