Rain of Reflections Demo Impression
The encounter and puzzle systems should offer plenty of appeal to those who like mind-engaging games.
Lionbite Games used Gamescom to announce that its first chapter of Rain of Reflections will be arriving in September. The developer also gave RPGamer the chance to check out a quick demo for the game. The demo offers a quick overview of the game’s mixture of point-an-click-style adventure and tactical stealth-based encounter system, providing an intriguing experience with a strong base to build upon.
The forty-minute demo includes two parts. The first is the very beginning tutorial section of the game, which follows the chapter’s protagonist Wilona’s escape from her apartment after her high-ranking mother demands Wilona join her in the capital city and pulls some strings for a military force to escort her. The second part sees Wilona and her ally Luc attempting to get past a person living a temple, who has beef with Luc as well as his own electrical generator.
Rain of Reflections takes place in the twenty-second century, a few years after all of humanity has suddenly and mysteriously been rendered infertile. Wilona herself is a scientist and is aiming to free the last-born child, who is currently held as a test subject, though the child doesn’t appear in the demo as the opening section ends once Wilona successfully leaves her apartment building in the tutorial section.
As part of the tutorial players get to try out the branching dialogue system, which can potentially let Wilona talk her way out of some encounters and test out the hacking mini-game. There is also a nice introduction to the hacking mini-game, which is itself divided into three potential puzzles. The first of these is requires that players rotate a block to match a silhouette, the second requires getting a ball to a goal, and the third is a sonar-based search for a goal. Each of the puzzles are turn-based, with a limited number of turns available to complete each puzzle. The puzzles are enjoyable, though the object turning seems like it will require much more luck or ability in spatial reasoning than the others. Wilona can hack many things both inside and outside of encounters — with the demo including a door, delivery robots, and a taxi — and there are usually multiple nodes and potentially a number of hacking routes that Wilona can take, in the demo there was a choice of doing three easier puzzles or one tougher one.
The rest of the demo introduces the encounter system. All of the encounters shown require getting Wilona and any allies to a certain part of the map. Each character in the encounter gets two action point, which can be used to move or do one of the available options. Rather than health, Rain of Reflections judges characters based on a motivation bar. Things like being detected or being shot at will reduce this motivation bar, while certain actions, such as talking to offer encouragement can raise it, as well as potential applying bonuses or hindering effects on others in the encounter. Stepping in a puddle and activating a particular switch were two primary examples shown of ways that can alert enemies to a character’s location. Wilona has her own cloaking device, which she can use to much more easily move away from and to certain areas than others. The encounters in the demo were plenty enjoyable, with a good balance between encouraging caution and moving at a good enough pace, though the straightforward UI indicates that its depth will come almost entirely from encounter designs rather than systems.
The demo makes it clear that Wilona is the only character who needs to survive an encounter with the fates of her allies very much up to the player, and she can leave Luc behind in the temple encounter. How this is built into the narrative remains to be seen. The demo doesn’t show anything in terms of character growth, but players can pick up useful items such as battery packs or ammo in both the adventure portion and encounters. There doesn’t appear to be any save slots outside of any autosave, nor any way to undo actions that may be made as part of misunderstanding any systems, but these may just apply to the demo.
Rain of Reflections’ demo did a good job in further piquing my interest in the title. The encounter and puzzle systems should offer plenty of appeal to those who like mind-engaging games. It remains to be seen if the full story delivers, whether the gameplay is deep enough to sustain its length, and how well the episodic delivery the game works with two further chapters following different characters already announced, but Rain of Reflections looks to have a solid base to build upon.