Rathamn City is a fresh, free-to-play game that can be a welcome distraction in times of boredom. The developers, two young Finnish talents, 21 and 23 years of age, decided that the world needs more rat adventures; the result is a surprisingly addictive, retro-looking action game.
The mechanics are pretty straightforward: you start off controlling a young male rat as he jumps inside the sewers trying to collect as much cheese as possible, while avoiding all different kinds of obstacles and trying not to drown in the polluted water that looms above. The game requires some good reflexes and tapping speed, as you will have to deal with a variety of different obstacles: blockages and traps that must be destroyed, ice that needs to be avoided, and even bad cheese that distorts your view, adding to the challenge. This is not to say that these must be dealt with as they are: powerful bombs, portals, magnets and other perks are there to help you – some of them you will come across on your dangerous journey, others you will have to buy after you’ve run out.
The game’s biggest weakness is that there are only 5 levels available so far, and you will probably finish them all pretty quickly – the game does not offer much in these terms, and you will most likely end up in the Endless mode very soon. The levels’ length and difficulty increase as you progress, and at the end of each level you unlock a new rat character. Each character is customisable with store-bought items and has their own personality and reactions. Two of them are particularly interesting: a relatively overweight rat will have more trouble running through tight pipes, and a petite rat-girl will move faster but more uncontrollably. All of the characters are playable in an endless mode, in which case the sky is the limit: as much cheese as you can get!
The graphics are not bad, and each level has a different background. The text is drawn in a simplified graffiti-style and the overall feel brings to mind images from a couple of decades ago: strong colours, trippy colourful backgrounds, urban art, etc. Everything was actually first hand-drawn with a marker, and it is not hard to notice that whoever created them did not have much experience with graphic arts. This is not necessarily bad, and I would say that it adds an interesting touch to the imagery. The characters are also interesting, and the whole game is characterised by a relative simplicity.
It is not surprising that the game gained a lot of popularity and good critiques soon after its release. What’s surprising is that all this was done with practically a zero budget, non-digital creative media, a team comprised of roughly 8 young people and an essentially crazy, enthusiastic idea. Whereas the game is not exactly up to standards as far as gameplay is concerned, Rathamn City is a great example of a successful game dev project.
Rathamn City is available for Android devices on Google Play and for the iPhone and iPad through the AppStore.
Developer – Sandra and Lina Kangaspeska Publisher – PeliClan
Platforms – Android, iOS
Release date – 14/10/2016