We really appreciate it that Soma Games gave us access to a pre-release version of this game for review.
G: Into the Rain is the first in a series which is planned to consist of four games: G, F, E, and Arc. This game sets the base storyline, and each future episode should expand on it. The premise here is that over the last 30 years, mankind saw a growing emptiness in the sky, as part of the heavens became obscured. Like a cloud covering the midday sun, they called it The Rain. As it drew near, they began to learn more and more of its nature. What started as fear soon became desire as nations and corporations saw wealth and power. Now that The Rain has drawn near, you are one of the explorers who will chart what riches lay inside. No one is sure what you will find, or how far you will go to find it.
As an explorer, you can join one of ten different corporations set on exploring The Rain. When you start a campaign, you can also choose whether to play the tutorial, which I highly recommend. In addition to being shown the ropes a bit more for the first time through, you also get to hear more of the excellent voice acting, and the advice tends to be useful. It seems that this setting effects whether or not you hear at least some of the dialog, though I did not complete a second play through with the tutorial off for all of the specifics.
This game is all about reconnaissance, though not against an enemy force. Your job is to fire one or more rockets and \'ping\', or fire off a locating signal, near selected points in the sector to help locate precious resources. Speaking of precious resources, you are rewarded based on how few you use to accomplish your task.
When you launch a rocket, you first set the angle, the launch impulse, and the burn duration. Launch impulse affects how much fuel you use to launch, and therefore the speed, and the burn duration affects how long it burns. You can also use trim thrusters to help guide your rocket towards its target. Physics are mostly Newtonian, so it doesn\'t take much force to keep moving in one direction and inertia strongly resists changes from thrusters. All of this is done on a 2D plane.
Sounds simple, right? Well, not so fast. If it was just about shooting a rocket at points of interest, it would be easy. But instead, this \'G\' seems to be for Gravity. Gravity plays a huge role in this game. There are several heavenly bodies, both large and small, that are often encountered on a mission. These can be both a help and a hindrance, as your rocket is subject to their gravitational forces, so a rocket can arc any which way as it\'s attracted to all bodies nearby.
The flight mechanics are convincing, and it\'s fun to watch your rocket fling around the screen, and even off the screen as potentially large rotations occur while attempting to ping your targets. There are also achievements that you can earn depending on how you accomplish the task at hand.
The graphics are all drawn in nice detail. Not a single graphic is annoying to look at, and it is well polished. It\'s all 2D art, so while it can get a little pixelated at very high resolutions, it overall works well, and even works on the slowest netbooks. The sound effects are very nice and convincing. I especially like the voice acting, as it brings a real character to the game. The music, while appropriately moody and ambient, does get repetitive after a while, and I found myself wishing for some variety here.
From a Christian standpoint, this game is squeaky clean. I guess the only thing I can think of is that the companies that hire you out seem to push you farther and farther into The Rain, even at great risk. Nevertheless, it\'s nothing I feel the need to deduct for. The founder of Soma Games is a Christian, and he has the story of the company he started at http://www.somagames.com. While this game doesn\'t really have a Christian message per se, it offers a fun game play experience and a level of polish that many games lack. Great work here!
G: Into The Rain is a game that is smart in so many ways. It takes a simple game concept, adds an impressive back story, adds layer upon layer of polish to make it a game to be proud of, and keeps the game within the scope of what a small independent studio can do, and charges the ridiculously low price of $0.99 for a copy each on both the PC or iPhone. What can I say? While it\'s certainly not the best or most mind blowing game I\'ve played, it\'s certainly fun, and it\'s a puzzle game that gets you thinking. It also offers a high score leaderboard online if you\'re the competitive type. And it\'s $0.99. Consider picking this up if you\'re even moderately interested. It\'s in Apple\'s iTunes store for iPhone or iTouch, and it\'s available on Intel\'s AppUp center for Windows PCs.