Rainswept by Frostwood Interactive
Stop me if you’ve heard this pitch before: a detective arrives at a small town to investigate a mysterious murder. I know it sounds cliché at this point, but Rainswept by Frostwood Interactive takes that premise and delivers an engrossing, heartfelt narrative.
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…
You play as Detective Michael Stone, sent to Pineview where an apparent murder-suicide has taken place. On the surface, the game is about figuring out what exactly happened, but as you progress, you learn more about the small town and its inhabitants.
The game takes you on a narrative journey towards uncovering the truth, all the while slowly uncovering the mystery behind it all.
Detective Stone is determined to figure out what exactly happened, driven by events in his past. It’s best if I don’t spoil the mystery of this detective, but his actions start to make sense when you learn more about him.
The game did a great job of keeping me guessing throughout his narrative arc. It’s nice to see a story-driven game where the protagonist is not a blank slate, but a character who changes along the way.
…in a Quaint Little Town
The small town of Pineview features a varied cast of characters you learn more and more about as you talk to them. The main gameplay mechanic involves straightforward, linear dialogue options. You question everyone, not only about the investigation, but also about them personally.
There are a couple of instances where you have different dialogue options, but they don’t affect the game’s predetermined narrative path. Thanks to great writing and attention to detail, you’ll come across a number of well-developed characters.
I’d Just Like to Ask You a Few Questions
Through dialogue, you learn more about Pineview inhabitants. You’ll explore the relationship between two brothers, the motivations of a Pineview police officer unhappy with your presence, as well as the small town culture itself.
It’s impressive how much dialogue you have to go through. Town inhabitants have many lines of dialogue, detailing motivations, opinions and even gossip about Pineview.
The great thing is that the writing is not only thorough, but also compelling. Characters are well-defined, and the interactions help enrich the game’s narrative. I was constantly looking forward to learning more about the town and its inhabitants.
Small Town Charm
When you’re not conversing with town folk, you’re able to move freely around the small town and enter story-specific areas. Gameplay here boils down to clicking on relevant objects to gain potentially important knowledge required in order to progress the narrative further.
But there isn’t a wealth of objects within the game to interact with, which means that everything you examine is relevant to the narrative, thus creating a more funneled experience.
There were times when I felt like this was a little bit too simplistic, but not having to interact with useless objects did help give Rainswept a more expedient pace. Its gameplay is linear, but thankfully the engrossing story was able to overshadow that aspect.
Where the Conversation Leads
It can be a turn-off for those looking for a more organic detective style investigation game. Since you have to go through nearly all of the dialogue options to progress through the linear narrative, it can feel a bit constricting.
There isn’t a lot of exploration or finding clues on your own. A large part of your enjoyment of Rainswept is going to depend on whether you’re okay with its linear nature and don’t mind reading a lot of voiceless text.
A Little Ditty ’bout Chris and Diane
Apparent victims Chris and Diane’s relationship is a huge focus of the game, which even lets you play as Chris during pivotal points in their relationship. Through these flashbacks, the game further details their relationship, and in my case I started to care about and empathize with them.
It’s a dramatic, heartfelt love story filled with ups and downs that would make any soap opera jealous.
Characters do things that make sense, whether or not you agree with their methods or not. The main theme of this game is trauma and interpersonal relationships – and how trauma can affect the individuals exposed to it.
Finger on the Trigger Warning
It’s a big running theme that also deals with a lot of sensitive subject matter. Thankfully, it doesn’t feel like it touches on these topics for shock value. It feels tactfully imbued into the narrative, which is a feat that should be applauded.
Its kind of hard to talk about the game without spoiling anything, but I legitimately feel its better if you enter the game as blind as possible. Again, it’s akin to games like To The Moon, where its mainly about delivering a narrative above anything else, so don’t expect a lot of gameplay.
Violin Strings and Heartstrings
I have to mention the game’s fantastic original soundtrack by micAmic (who also composed for Downfall and The Cat Lady). Oftentimes music can take away or overshadow an experience, but Rainswept’s music helps accentuate the game’s sadder tone.
It’s a soundtrack filled with somber piano tones, low synths and soft violins. It fits like a glove and makes narrative moments in the game even more memorable. The score’s main theme perfectly captures the intrigue and somber atmosphere of it all.
As Rainswept’s narrative came to an end, it had an effect on me emotionally. The themes and subject matter are not only sad but also uplifting. The game’s ending message is something that really resonated with me.
It’s rare when a game causes this kind of reaction in me. It’s only happened before in a couple of narrative-focused games.
I recommend this game for those who want to experience a sad but enthralling narrative; you might also find yourself empathizing with its flawed but sympathetic characters.
Rainswept is available via Steam.
Watch the official trailer for Rainswept below: