I found this unassuming little bag of assumptions playing along in the Microsoft set at Games for Change, with the 360 controls awkwardly bounding what works just fine with a mouse. City Rain is not a game about the enviro-economic benefits of rainwater capture, but rather, about blocks of city raining down in a Tetris/Sim City tango. I´m all about South American developers, and I could tell from the narrator´s Scandanavian-with-a-twist-of-lime accent that this was from either the Southern Cone or Brazil. It´s won a bunch of awards, and now has a downloadable delux version available for purchase.
First the flaws: the narrator comes off as a bit curt, and the copywriting is laced with grammatical errors, the kind I spend my working hours correcting. Let´s say I´ve an ambivalent humor about that kind of thing. The gameplay involves buildings falling down along a grid; you want to place them in a pattern that optimizes all the relevant variables: happiness, leisure, jobs, security, sustainability, etc. This can be a bit stressful, as it´s all happening in real-time, like Tetris, there´s no need to be scolded. A rich game dynamic is somewhat soured by Mother Gaia´s insistence on being so overt with their message, again reinforcing what JB was saying about getting over the message model of meaning when making games.
Ultimately, though, what´s interesting about this game´s design, and what nobody else has talked about, is how the falling blocks somewhat highlight the chaotic and conflict-ridden nature of urban planning. Only in Stalinist Russia with their planned industrial cities does a vibe akin to Sim City actually play out; otherwise it´s probably closer to Tetris, various parties coming along stochastically, planting new plots with whatever homes, businesses, industries they can, good luck fitting in your municipal services and not screwing your sustainable profile in the process. For this meditation, coupled with the pleasures of upgrading and the satisfaction of authorship, the game is worth at least a try, and maybe a buy. Wondaful, betta zan mama!