Rainy Season is a game that speaks to that universal feeling of having your plans scuppered by inclement weather. We've all been there at some point in our lives, painstakingly planning a grand day out only for it to absolutely tip it down on the day in question - and for the boy in Inasa Fujio's hour-long narrative game, it's a trip to the local theme park during his summer holidays that gets rained off.
Unfortunately, his mum (sensibly) decides against taking him and his brother out in the oncoming storm, so now he's got to face a day stuck inside his grandma's house instead. FUN. Turns out, though, that there are still plenty of memories to be made in this small, cluttered space. All you need is a little imagination.
You can spend your day noodling about in whatever way you please in Rainy Season. At the start of the game, you can pick whether you want it to last an hour, 40 minutes, or even a brisk 20 minutes if you're really in a hurry, and the length of its morning, afternoon, evening and night-time sections will adjust themselves accordingly. The rest of your housebound family members will shift around the lower part of the house as the day goes on, but you're free to explore its rooms and interact with Grandma's myriad piles of objects in whatever order you please. Nothing is locked to a particular time of day. The only thing you can't do is go beyond its gate.
It's in poking about these items that you'll eventually trigger Rainy Season's "Daydreams", six short interludes that each bring their own sense of magic and wonder to this most dreariest of days. Some leave a permanent impression on your surroundings, physically altering its appearance for the rest of the game, but most of them are only fleeting, giving you just the tiniest of glimpses into these other worlds.
I won't spoil what those glimpses are. They're best left discovered for yourself. But I enjoyed this sweet-natured slice of life story immensely, and it was a lovely way to spend an hour of my day. The house itself is wonderfully detailed, packed to the rafters with jars, papers, memorabilia and boxes of tat (as all good houses are), and it feels like a very lived in environment. It also does that brilliant thing of really putting you in the shoes of its tiny protagonist, placing its perspective quite low to the ground so you need to jump up big steps and weave between its towering adults.
It also lets you climb up onto the roof to look out over the locked-off streets below, and cor, it really filled me with a sense of yearning to get out there and start exploring. Alas, that gate in the driveway will always remain firmly shut while playing Rainy Season, no matter how many times you jiggle the handle with your mouse (or indeed try to cheese your way over the wall with its first-person jumping). It is, in short, the perfect encapsulation of childhood, distilling all its frustrations of not being able to do as you please, while also celebrating the joy of long lazy days and the magic of make-believe. If you haven't played it, you really should.
Rainy Season is available now on and for a very agreeable £3 / $4.