TW: Sexual Assault

Welcome to Pineview, an idyllic town filled with kooky characters, and – oh yes, there’s been two bodies found dead.  You are Michael Stone, a life-weary detective sent to Pineview, and who is hellbent on revealing the truth behind what happened to these people. All before the yearly festival celebrations begin.

Developed and published by Frostwood Interactive and 2Awesome Partners, Rainswept was originally released for PC. Rainswept is now available on Switch, and it’s found a nice home on the console. I found myself playing it in handheld mode, curled up with a coffee, as I delved into the story.

Chris and Diane are found dead in their homes, and it’s your job to find out what happened. Twists and turns, evidence abound, you have to piece together the events that led to their death.

Through stories discovered from people who knew them and objects related to the case, you switch between investigating with Michael, and delving into the past and playing as Chris, living his life during the time he knew Diane, helping you understand what happened to them.

The gameplay is simple – walk around, interact with objects, talk to townsfolk, solve puzzles – but that is far from a bad thing. The game is short, averaging out at about 5 hours, but it never feels dragged out. The story is engaging, particularly as you learn more about Chris and Diane, and also about Michael, who from the very beginning has episodes where he passes out. And I’m always appreciative of getting to change a character’s outfit.

The art is beautiful – wait, hang on, let me clarify. The scenery art is beautiful. The citrus sunsets, the falling of leaves. The buildings are made of geometric shapes standing in contrast to the beautiful painterly trees. The characters, on the other hand, are a bit of a different story.

The character models are simplistic, though varied enough that you can recognize most characters in the world after awhile, though some just did not stand out. But where the character models stand out is… movement. They’re ragdoll-esque, with their hips attached to their torso, resulting in somewhat hilarious walking and running animations. This is particularly clear during a dance segment – oof your legs are not supposed to look like that.

In saying that though, those silly running animations help add levity to an otherwise very heavy game. There is some humor within the writing, but for the most part it delves into quite heavy topics. One of which you may gather from the fact I started this review with a trigger warning. The music and sound design adds to all of this, with soft piano melodies during sweet or sad moments, but unafraid to remove music entirely for important scenes, letting ambient noise or sound effects fill the empty space.  It’s an emotional story, with moments of insight into grief and trauma, and how life can, or feel, to be.

So welcome to Pineview. Unravel it’s mysteries, uncover it’s secrets, and giggle at silly leg physics. You won’t regret it.

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