Rein is another small adventure game I downloaded some time back, but only came across recently while trying to delete games I’ve already played off my hard-drive. This laptop of mine is filling up fast, and I have no one to blame but myself. Stop all the downloading. It’s probably a stretch to compare it to surviving, but there is an element of choice at play: keep this, delete that, move here, grab that. You never know what to save, what might come in handy down the line, in some unpredictable scenario. Thankfully, in real life, I can move at a slower clip than Darius Poyer’s Rein demands because even a single pause is enough to get yourself flattened, though you can always try again.
Here’s why you, a scientist, must survive: your research facility is crumbling after an experiment goes wrong. That’s all you get, and all you’ll get, unfortunately, as much of the story is left clouded in a chemical fog. Instead, the focus is on escaping, reaching fresh air while everyone else around you succumbs to Death’s cruel touch. I died within seconds of starting Rein. Then I died within seconds of restarting Rein. Died on the next screen almost instantly. You are probably seeing a pattern by now. This is not a game where you have time to right-click on items and read their descriptions; it’s all about moving, thrusting forward, thinking on your feet, no loitering.
Alas, Rein ends right once you get a hang of how it operates. Seriously, it’s short. Maybe ten minutes long tops, and I’m only grumbling about this fact because I wanted more. I wanted the research facility to be larger, to have more rooms to explore and discover the ingredients behind its downfall. Was not a big fan of the puzzle solution where you use a handgun to shoot off a padlock, something that MythBusters debunked a good while back. Rein‘s claustrophobic nature is extremely effective, so much that when you get to the “safe” room, the one where you won’t die by lingering too long, it does feel like a pinch of relief, a weight off. There is a lot of solid animation here–really liked the one for our leading scientist opening a powered-down door with a metal pipe–and an atmospheric piano tune that sets the tone.
Historically, I’ve not played too many point-and-click adventure games where death is an option, one lingering just above the protagonist’s head, waiting to strike. If I recall, you can get yourself shot quite easily in Beneath a Steel Sky. There’s also the numerous missteps you can make in Another World/Out of This World, which one might not classify as an adventure game, but I think it is Rein‘s biggest inspirational drawing point. Other than those examples, I can’t come up with any others I’ve experienced that punish sloppy pointing and clicking, but it is an interesting concept in a genre generally regarded as infallible, unless you can’t find a specific pixel or determine the logic behind the developers’ minds.
Go on. Try your luck at surviving within a crumbling research by downloading Rein over here. I bet you’ll do better than me.