Didn’t realize my PopMatters post went up today until I saw someone else recommending it to Critical Distance.
I wanted to write something about Rain after I finished my review of it. It’s not a game many or really anybody talked about and for some reason I felt like somebody should. But I didn’t have anything to say. It’s visually evocative and nicely constructed in places, but there isn’t much else to say. In a way this is my attempt at purging the game from my mind.
Then I played Contrast because a friend had an extra copy and gifted it to me. And after getting through it I felt pretty much the same way. I should have something to say about it, but the game doesn’t really have much to say. Contrast is influenced by all of these interesting things like the jazz era and film noir that in the end are more interesting than the work they are influences of.
Then I came across that Brad Galloway quote in his Rain review and it fit so perfectly: “critic-bait.” Both games really do feel like they were constructed they way they were in an effort to garner praise for being “artistic indies” by following the ‘formula’ for such things. It’s a real pity both games give off that vibe, because they look like there should be more there than there ultimately is.
You can read my comparison of Rain and Contrast to Oscar bait movies over at PopMatters on it’s non-usual day.