I grew up reading comics — mostly Marvel titles with the occasional foray into Image, Dark Horse or DC. But when I was growing up, we weren’t blessed with new Nerd Renaissance.
Comic book games were few and far between. Though there were some gems, the games we got were generally of very mixed quality. Fast forward to today, and we live in the age of unrestricted fandom.
And with this sea change, we’ve been blessed with an incredible surge in nerdy entertainment; and yet, great comic book games remain a rare commodity. Enter Every Raindrop.
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Every Raindrop looks to address that dearth, though perhaps not in the most direct fashion. For one thing, Every Raindrop reads to me more like a graphic novel game than a traditional comic book game — a fine but important distinction.
What do I mean by that? Well, to my mind, a graphic novel is more often a work that focuses on the artistic dimensions of the medium, rather than the conventional comic book approach, which generally treat the medium more like a tool box to build an action film than to craft great works of art.
Obviously, this is not universally true, but the sort of generalization that springs to mind when I look at Every Raindrop's art style, which is subtle and painterly. You certainly won’t see explosions of cosmic energy or teens in brightly colored spandex leaping across rooftops in Every Raindrop. Instead, we’re treated to a thoughtful, quiet approach to graphic storytelling, complete with a muted palette and some novel character design.
The characters look more like bowling pins than human beings, but there’s something about that simple design that works in Every Raindrop's larger aesthetic. And removing identifying physical characteristics from characters lets us put aside a huge amount of the baggage we attach to physical features and the freight associated with those features when building identities. We can focus on the character’s words, actions and feelings.
In a bizarre way, stripping away these characters' surface layers of humanity makes them easier to empathize with. The strong black lines of ink that define their shape and their environments, alongside the familiar looking comic-style dialogue bubbles give the game a hand-drawn look that feels instantly familiar to comic readers.
Every Raindrop also manages to evoke noir sensibilities, with its dark city streets and seemingly perpetual rainfall. The trailer hints at a potential romance between the main character and a mysterious woman in red, who you pursue through the cold streets of an imposing grey metropolis, pressed in by other faceless pedestrians.
There’s tremendous potential here for a narrative about isolation and alienation in a modern urban landscape, with romantic or noir mystery themes as a point of ingress for the player.
Though information about the story has thus far been fairly slight, the trailer, with it’s brilliant tour of the game’s striking art and its gorgeous, subdued soundtrack, makes a powerful first impression. I’m very much looking forward to Every Raindrop if just to take a bath in that beautiful, minimalist art style.