Tough platformer Rain World gets easy mode in beta

These guys seem cool

The harsh and wet ruins of Rain World are now slightly less harsh (but still just as wet), say developers Videocult. That’s good, that’s real good. In the summer we learned there’d someday be an easier “Monk” mode for anyone struggling with the game’s “disco lizards”, as well as a harder “Hunter” mode for anyone who thought death by a dozen leeches did not come quick enough. Well, it’s here in the form of a beta.

Sound delicious? Here’s the main course:

New playable characters, corresponding to different playstyles and difficulty:

THE MONK – “Weak of body but strong of spirit. In tune with the mysteries of the world and empathetic to its creatures, your journey will be a significantly more peaceful one.”

THE HUNTER – “Strong and quick, with a fierce metabolism requiring a steady diet of meat. But the stomach won’t be your only concern, as the path of the hunter is one of extreme peril.”

To access the beta, right click on the game in Steam, go to Properties → Betas, and enter “MANYSLUGCATS” into the beta key field. You should then be able to select the beta branch and download the new build!

There’s also a multiplayer mode for up to 4 players, where you have to catch bats and eat them for points while spearing your opponent slugcats. Plus a sandbox mode where you can dump creatures to see how they react to each other.

“This mode is to experiment,” say the developers, “and learn about the behaviour of creatures players encounter in the world.”

That’s useful and pretty neat when you consider some of the horrible things that live in this washed-out post-apocalyptic land. There’s more of those too, with “a large bestiary of strange new creatures to eat and be eaten by.”

I am keen to try this out. The world of this survival platformer and its assorted wildlife was both wonderful and frustrating. The toxic swamps and dripping caverns were excellent to explore and each unusual new beast you discovered demanded close observation before making any sudden moves. It’s a predatory landscape and often feels like a real, brutal ecosystem that has been smuggled into a platformer. But you’re also often the victim of random deaths, and the controls on release were weighty and stubborn. It felt like a missed opportunity.

Since then there’s also been a small patch to tweak some of the problems, but this Monk mode seems to be aimed squarely at my delicate whiskers. Pray for my little slugcat, it looks like he’s going back in.

The final version of the update will be out “very soon”.

13 Comments

  1. Dominic Tarason says:

    The deeper you get into Rain World, the more strange and wonderful it becomes. Especially once you start to discover what the plot of the game is really about. Hopefully this update means more people can experience that.

    I wonder if the Monk & Hunter get new dialogue with [REDACTED] or [REDACTED]? It wouldn’t surprise me.

    • and its man says:

      Please, no new d…, [REDACTED]! I’ve done enough round trips carrying [REDACTED] in both hands and in my [REDACTED] to bring them to [REDACTED].
      (actually, I loved that.)

      More importantly, it will hopefully allow more people to reach its last twenty minutes. Its ending is the most beautiful audiovisual voyage I’ve seen in 35 years of playing video games. There’s no game I know that can compare.

  2. Premium User Badge

    FhnuZoag says:

    It’s welcome that these devs are patching these games to make them playable for me. OTOH, these patches add modes that often do not seem well thought out or playtested, and generally do not get any reviews to confirm that they actually *do* make the game substantially easier. Or that they are fun to play at all, in the case of enhanced difficulty modes.

    Basically I’m saying that it’s not necessarily the dev’s fault, but I’m still not sold on Rain World.

  3. Ghostwise says:

    Sounds good ! Though of course doing the press release *before* the mode is implemented means we don’t know yet how accessible it makes the game.

    • and its man says:

      Sounds good !

      While we’re at it: not often spoken of, but there’s a neat approach to sound in Rain World.
      While many games are constantly flowed with music, it has sparse music and sound design.
      There are these distant, filtered technoid beats that sometimes pop in, like vague reminders of something consensually supposed to keep you going.
      But overall, the game sounds thin, if not silent. Which makes its more ‘sonic’ moments very intimidating. I liked how it was scored with a sense of amplitude.

  4. poliovaccine says:

    That sandbox mode sounds like a hoot. I’m quietly hoping it lets you build levels, but they didn’t say anything about that, so I’m not expecting it.

    This game is gorgeous, though. I showed the gifs RPS made to a non-gamer friend cus I liked em so much and she bought the game because of em. It was the first videogame she’d played in years haha, so uh, I don’t think she ever beat it.

  5. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    Once I got into it, I really, really liked Rain World, though I can’t say it’s not without its flaws. Hopefully this’ll allow more people to get into it and experience its weird and wonderful world.

    If it helps anybody to know this, you actually can savescum to maintain karma/create backups in case you get stuck somewhere especially nasty, simply by copy/pasting the actual savegame files. Although, I’m not sure I ever actually used a backup when playing the game as karma is less an issue than you might think – most places with high karma gates either have a lot of food nearby for easy hibernating or aren’t the way you’re supposed to go – but it was just nice to have them there. (Disclaimer that if this no longer works in the new patch, that’s not my fault.)

    • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

      Oh, and one more tip while I’m at it: if you play Rain World on a controller, use the d-pad rather than the analogue stick. The game seems to respond much better to discrete inputs (which is also why it works surprisingly well on a keyboard).

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        Waltorious says:

        I would argue that it’s not surprising that a platform game with discrete inputs works well on a keyboard. In fact I’d guess it would work even better than with a d-pad.

        It’s always confused me that gamepads are considered the controller of choice for platformers. I only prefer them if there are lots of non-directional inputs. Or analog movement.

  6. Terics says:

    My defining moment in RW is repeating this toll run, to get to this warehouse, only to realize that the flying things I needed to grab on to,to avoid the vicious fish, were being eaten by said fish. This took an hour of basically wondering why there were corpse in the water, looking at this impossible platforming puzzle, and eventually getting the run fast enough to watch the dumb birds, kill themselves attempting to get fish. I’m not sure if this was a bug.

    Anyway these are both cool additions, but I’d much rather them make the game more approachable in general. Like pull back the curtain a bit, make the game more obvious and upfront. Tighten up the controls even. The danger was a huge part of the game for me, that was offset by how easy it was to get trapped in a bad place with no direction. I bet the peaceful mode will appeal to a lot of people but it sounds like it gets rid most of the interesting parts of the game while not really fixing or tuning the base game.

  7. Ben King says:

    I will buy the crap out of this once it’s made playable for my feeble gaming brains and hands. I’m always pleased to hear about more forgiving game modes that maintain the feel of the game, and this makes me happy:-)

    • grimdanfango says:

      I would suggest simple perseverance with Rain World. No changes are going to make the game particularly more accessible – the whole point of the game is that you have everything you need to survive in the first minute of the game, except the expertise. It’s all about building muscle-memory, and learning to live inside its world. The moment you stop feeling held back from “progressing” and just accept that if you can’t get somewhere yet, it’s because you haven’t learned how to survive well enough where you already area, it becomes a far more enjoyable game.

      The sole reason most people bounce off the game is because they’re so conditioned to expect a game to present a consistent series of managable steps and steady progression, that they end up convinced the game is unfairly punishing them when they try to rush ahead too fast.

      It’s an amazing and entirely managable game, provided you accept that learning how to play it *is* the game… you’ll spend the entirety of a 15-30 hour playthrough learning and refining your approach. No patch will do that for you, and if it could, well… there wouldn’t really be much of a game left.

      • Czrly says:

        I’m pretty sure that people bounce off the game because the actual feeling of playing the game is so inconsistent and glitchy. I am not talking about the dynamic and organic behaviour of the monsters. Personally, I think that’s a killer feature! But there is absolutely no reason why grab controls should *ever* be inconsistent. Or movement controls. The fact that pressing grab has about a one-in-three chance of just simply having no effect is one of the reasons why people feel that the controls suck so much. Jump also sometimes does nothing and dying because you’re stuck at the mouth of a pipe that you know you’re allowed to enter is just no fun at all.

        Then, when you die, you have to watch the 15 second animation of the vault door opening with no way to skip and nothing to do or see. Because losing karma is not enough, you must also be Punished!

        Rain World is, to me, the exact opposite of Spelunky. Both are tough as nails but I know which one I’d rather be playing simply because, in Spelunky, I feel like I am controlling the player-character.

        I know that the developers wanted to make a hard game and that they wanted to make one that forced the player to adapt to a situation as it evolves. In my opinion, they did not succeed at this because it is impossible for me to adapt if 50% of my inputs are simply ignored. I could plan around the fact that the controls respond so unpredictably but, frankly, that isn’t fun for me.

        I want to play the game for fun, not game the controls!