Created by Frostwood Interactive, Rainswept is a murder mystery and physiological brain twister that’s hard to look away from. The story follows Detective Stone, who has driven into the town of Pineview to investigate the murder-suicide of a couple in town. Not as quick to judge the complicated couple and the rumors that followed them as the rest of the townspeople, Stone and his new friend Officer Blunt begin doing their own investigation when Stone finds that some of the evidence doesn’t quite add up. And so the game begins.
First off, I’d like to mention how gorgeous the main menu is – between the serene piano music and red ombre effect on the tree line, it teeters on peaceful and sorta eerie. All in all, the backgrounds in general in Rainswept are absolutely gorgeous and you’ll inevitably find yourself stopping to admire it at random points of the game.
By far my favorite thing about Rainswept was the sound and music (done by Micamic). During the intro to the game, the soft and tragic piano keys are coupled with thunder and rainfall. The game immediately sets the tone – you know that something bad is about to go down. Which is spot on because five seconds later, we see a glimpse of the murder-suicide.
Throughout the game, Rainswept has been excellent at setting the tone through colors and music. Rainswept was kind of like a blend between Oxenfree (seeing as this too was a 2D) and Firewatch (both games being undeniably peaceful despite the nagging sensation in your gut that something awful is going on). What makes Rainswept different though, is the simplistic art style. There’s just enough detail in the characters to show their overall appearance but the details in the town and woods are gorgeous! One of my favorite scenes was early on in the game when Stone is walking up a hill, towards a church on a cliff. The sun is out, the wind is blowing and overall its just got a really peaceful vibe – you almost forget that there’s been a murder.
There’s this other stunning scene in Rainswept, a flashback between two important characters, that’s got some great witty and sweet banter. Thrown together on New Year’s Eve, the two characters make it to a scenic view of the city and that’s when the fireworks start. It was definitely one of the most memorable scenes for me!
Besides the murder investigation, the game also delves into Stone’s own personal trauma – let’s be real, a guy who chain-smokes that bad ain’t doing too well. Plagued by creepy visions and paralyzing nightmares of a woman named Abigail, Stone seems to think that whatever happened to her is all his fault. I have to admit, the game does such a good job of being tranquil that the first time this thing happened, I jumped. Stone’s own trauma begins to slowly unfold as you delve further into the investigation.
Some little details of Rainswept that I really appreciated were how the sunny sky or moon was always perfectly lit to tell the time of day, or how charming the townspeople are. The dialogue feels comfortable and familiar like you really are in one of those towns where everyone knows everything about each other. I also was pleasantly surprised to see that Stone could change his clothes back in his hotel room… it’s not a game-changing addition or anything but it was a cool dash of professionalization for the player that I hadn’t expected.
My one tiny complaint is that I wish Stone could walk faster. As charming as the town is, you have to walk to almost every location and his slow pace can sometimes be frustrating when you get lost and have to backtrack. On the other hand, I did like how many residents there were peppered around town. On most occasions, I found myself stopping to chat them up and was genuinely interested in their backstory. I like that you’re not forced to talk to all of them – because it’s nice to have a choice – and I never felt rushed to get to the next location.
Gameplay wise, it’s pretty simple and uncomplicated. The game flips between exploration, interrogating and investigating but here and there there‘s some puzzle solving to shake things up.
Rainswept is available over on Steam for $13.49 and despite it being a relatively short game, the story is worth sticking around for. You’ll feel drawn to it for the mystery and intrigue but you’ll stay for the characters. From Stone’s first encounter with his haunting past, I was immediately thinking ‘what the heck is going!?’ and couldn’t stop myself until I found out.
With beautifully simplistic sets and moody piano melodies, Rainswept is a fun play-through for anyone who likes to solve mysteries at their own pace. Uncover the mystery for yourself and check out the trailer down below if you haven’t already! Have you given Rainswept a go? Let us know what you thought in the comments!