For the longest time, the family computer was a shitty old Amstrad that took 5.25″ floppy disks, hell, it even needed a boot disk to get into DOS. So my gaming choices were pretty limited, to say the least.
But I loved that thing, and I loved playing LucasArts’ The Secret of Monkey Island on it, all eight freaking disks of it. Since then, adventure games pretty much stuck with me as a favourite genre.
So imagine my surprise when Clifftop Games brings out not only a LucasArts style adventure game, but a damn good one too!
Kathy Rain features the titular lead character coming to terms with her troubled past as she investigates the recent death of her Grandfather. Armed with her trusty motorcycle, a notepad, and a pack of smokes, she embarks on a quest of mystery, intrigue, and 90’s nostalgia.
I’m not kidding, either. the game absolutely reeks of ye goode olde days of PC adventure games where you were armed with a mouse, a pointer, and a heinous amount of absolute moon logic to complete your tasks. Whilst it’s no Monkey Island or Day of the Tentacle (or even the more recent Thimbleweed Park), Kathy Rain’s no slouch in the puzzle department, either.
The overall story is pretty fantastic. It’s as if Full Throttle had a drunken makeout sesh with David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. It feels like a lot of character and heart was put into the game, it’s characters, and the setting. Graphically, it looks the part, too. You’d be almost tempted to try and fish an old CRT monitor out of the bin.
The sound design is also mostly top-notch, everyone’s voices are great and suit the character they’re meant to be portraying (though the grandmother sounds a bit off, even then it works), my only complaint is the Priest character, who seemed a bit quiet compared to the others. The soundtrack has a very 90’s adventure game feel to it whilst remaining fresh and modern, sound effects are well thought out and well designed.
The UI is fluid and intuitive and definitely doesn’t feel like you have to fight with the dialogue options or menus to get where you’re going or to use X-item with Y-object. There are, however, no settings to speak of, so those looking to tweak things might end up a little put-off.
The game’s biggest flaw is that it’s too short for my liking. Clocking in at around 5 hours, you’ll be able to finish it in a day or so unless you work in about 3 different jobs. Another major criticism is also in a way, a blessing. The game’s tasks and puzzles require no superhuman moon logic to complete, nor is there any unwinnable state you can find yourself in. I guess that’s the tradeoff for 5 hours of gameplay, and both definitely aren’t dealbreakers.
If you’re a veteran or a newcomer to point-and-click adventure games, Kathy Rain will either scratch that itch, or make the genre accessible enough to move onto more comprehensive games.
ARBITRARY NUMBERED SCORE: 7 rubber chickens with pullies in the middle out of 10.