Video games are meant to be fun and are often used as an escape from reality, but more and more games are also trying to tackle important issues and tough subjects. Ayo: A Rain Tale is a colorful platformer that helps bring awareness to a very serious issue: The scarcity of water in sub-Saharan Africa. To combat this, people who live there need to trek across the harsh terrain in search of water to bring back for their family, and due to the culture this job is often handed off to the women and young girls in the family. In Ayo: A Rain Tale You’ll play as the young girl Ayo as she embarks on her first ever trip to gather water for the family. Not only are there harsh physical conditions to contend with, but the journey takes a psychological toll as well, and following a massive sandstorm during her travels Ayo starts seeing some strange and magical things, almost like she’s in an entirely different world.
As you can see in the trailer, Ayo: A Rain Tale is a gorgeous game, and its particular brand of side-scrolling platforming reminds me a lot of Playdead’s LIMBO ($3.99) and INSIDE (Free). You’ll contend with environmental puzzles as well as enemies, including the final face-off with the massive bull Ja Thunderstorm who wants to keep all the water for himself. Unfortunately, should you survive this fantastical journey for water and defeat Ja Thunderstorm, “you must face a harsh reminder of the world we live in during your trek back home, which is grounded in reality." Ouch. Ayo: A Rain Tale launched on Steam and the Mac App Store this past November, and it’s slated to come to both iOS and Android on January 31st at a price of $2.99. It looks like a beautiful game that deals with an important issue, so be sure to check out Ayo when it arrives next week.