Set in the scorching desert of Sub-Saharan Africa, Ayo: A Rain Tale sees players assuming the role of a young girl who must deliver 40-pounds of clean water to her family. The journey is perilous, filled with traps, dust storms, and a number of other obstacles, requiring players to react fast and always stay on the move.
Developer Inkline Studio is based in Beirut, Lebanon, and have been working on Ayo: A Rain Tale for PC. It’s designed to not only address a real-life crisis in Africa, but also pay homage to the classic platformers of old that have become iconic as speedrunning pastimes.
Ghaith Fleifel, the founder of Inkline and lead developer on Ayo, explained what their motivation was behind the title, saying in the press release…
“We want Ayo: A Rain Tale to help raise awareness about the daily hardships faced by those who live in the Sub-Saharan region. Ayo represents every child who courageously takes on the job of fetching water for their family. It’s a story that must be told, and we’re confident that games – the preeminent interactive media of our time – are the perfect way to do so.”
This isn’t just about virtue signaling, though. The game itself is a 2.5D adventure with a rather captivating art-style based on modern African oil paintings. You can check out the trailer for the game below to see how the art and gameplay come together.
I must say that it’s about time some developer finally try utilizing a different kind of visual aesthetic for their game. Thank you, Inkline!
Today’s gaming industry has some of the most advanced and diverse tools on the market, but so many games look identical to one another. In the AAA space it’s almost impossible to tell one game from another due to all the drab gun-metal palettes or sewage brown military motifs, but things are oftentimes just as bad in the indie space where a lot of hipsters are convinced that retrograde 8-bit art is being hip and edgy. Newsflash: it’s not.
In this case, we have a game that at least takes inspiration from an artistic well rarely used.
In Ayo gamers will have to run, jump, double-hop, sprint and time their moves in a semi-mystical adventure across the Sub-Saharan landscape.
The developers obviously wanted a more over-the-top approach to an adventure based on a real-life crisis. They mentioned in the press release that more than three quarters of a billion people around the world are without water, and 319 million of them in the Sub-Saharan are suffering from a lack of access to reliable drinking water. This fits in line with a 2012 report from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, where they noted that only 4% of Sub-Saharan Africa has areas properly cultivated for irrigation. A lot of it is due to unpredictable weather conditions, famine and chronic droughts.
According to Reuters the numbers have slightly increased recently, where 7% of the farmland in Sub-Saharan regions are now irrigated. They mention that tax cuts and better farming education are required to readily solve the lack of water issue, but things are turning around now that Africa is importing cheap irrigation material from China, making it cost effective to expand water access in Sub-Saharan Africa.
As for Ayo: A Rain Tale, the game is due out for release on PC. They’re currently seeking votes from the community over on Steam Greenlight. So if you’re interested in this adventure platformer, feel free to check it out.