Ayo, A Rain Tale by Inkline is the story of the very real struggle of peoples living in developing countries, where resources, particularly water, are often scarce. With an artful beauty that only indie games can truly capture, Ayo carries players into the world with stunning animation, truly beautiful music, and an inspiring story of the humanity of all. 

The controls are simple enough, with the majority of the work being accomplished with the right arrow and space bar. However, in some regards, this simplicity can become frustrating when you fall into the brambles and watch the depressing animation of little Ayo collapse.

I’ve, honestly, never been so upset to watch a character die (if that’s what is happening). I don’t like letting this little girl or her village down. In the hunt for water, slow and steady seems to be the pace, especially when facing the forces of nature. 

As simply frustrating as some of the gameplay may seem, the cut scenes, dialogue, and world make Ayo one of the most unique experiences a gamer can have, which is ultimately what makes this special. You slowly make your way through a foreign world, discovering the beauty of it, progressing through your water seeking journey. 

While the game is available for $9.99 through the Mac App Store and Steam, it seems more like the sort of thing I would enjoy on a mobile platform. As a desktop game it is not nearly immersive enough to warrant sitting in front of my computer screen for long periods of time, and the frustration of jumping and falling too often drew me from the lyrical feel of the game. There are some enjoyable puzzles to be solved, with mazes, movable objects, and “mist,” which adds a level of complexity to the game, however, this might not be enough for many players. 

The game is drawing attention to such an important issue through a beautifully drawn world, however, the mechanics of it may leave something to be desired. As simple as the concept of jumping and moving may seem, in actuality, many of the objectives are difficult to accomplish. Or maybe I’m just space bar challenged.

Journey through Sub-Saharan Africa, traverse the magical desert and caves, and help a strong young girl. The simple mechanics certainly don’t take away from the difficulty of the game, in some ways making it more difficult. Consider this game if you want a simple experience that somehow still has complexities of gameplay, through an escapism that hopefully opens your eyes to the struggles of the world.

And if you really want to make a difference, whether you play this game or not, consider supporting organizations that seek to provide aid to those who most need it most:

  • UNICEF – assisting children worldwide
  • Charity Water – providing water to children and communities who are struggling like in the world of Ayo
  • Hispanic Federation – an organization providing hurricane relief to our own, as nearly 80% of Puerto Ricans are still without electricity and water. 

“Remember Ayo, have trust, and remain positive.” Enjoy this game, but don’t forget the message of it. We have the capacity to help others, and we should.

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