You Can’t Stop The Rain
HIGH An exquisite narrative with well-designed characters.
LOW The Director’s Cut perhaps clears up too much in the ending?
WTF Hey where is my post-credits scene?!
Back in 2016, Kathy Rain was a noteworthy title standing out in the midst of a 2D point-and-click adventure resurgence. Everyone singing its praises thought it would be the start of a series, but developer Joel Staaf Hästö went in a different direction, working instead on Whispers of a Machine. Now, five years later, the motorcycle-riding Kathy is back with an improved version of her original adventure.
The story sees Kathy on a path of discovery after the death of her grandfather, who had been in a wheelchair for years after a mysterious incident in the woods. Although hesitant at first, our heroine is soon tracking down the cause of that event — an event which also seems to have influenced the history of small town Conwell Springs. Along the way, she’ll not only have to deal with these issues, but also her own.
In terms of gameplay, nothing has changed from the original — this is still a 2D point-and-click adventure, so one can expect the usual formula typical to the genre consisting of exploring areas, collecting items, solving puzzles and talking to characters to advance the plot. The puzzles in Kathy Rain were among the best the genre could offer — at least as far as logic went — and the few that have been added to this new edition fit in nicely.
For example, one puzzle requires Kathy to enter a clinic by making a watchful nurse go away. To do this, the player needs the help of a bum sitting outside. The key is finding out about his previous acting career, getting him to act in front of the nurse and then giving him an ‘extra’ spark. In real life that would be hardly logical, but in the context of the game, it’s well-explained and never confusing. There’s also quite a bit of detective work required to figure out the names and phone numbers of people.
Another new feature is that the controls have been streamlined, now requiring only a single click of the mouse to interact, and the game is also more controller-friendly.
Graphically, Kathy Rain doesn’t look particularly impressive today, even with widescreen support, but the pixel art is solid and the backgrounds are incredibly atmospheric, like the foggy lake or an ominous forest. There are also a few new areas to explore, and these are great at delivering an X-Files-meets-Twin Peaks vibe with some slight supernatural notes.
Kathy Rain‘s original release also had some of the strongest voice acting I can remember from recent years, and I’m happy to see that the same cast has been called back to record more than 700 new lines which expand the original storyline. Most of the time this new audio is nearly indistinguishable from the old recordings, although there were a couple of instances where they did sound a bit hurried.
The emotional beats that the story touches upon are still incredibly powerful to this day, even more so now that we get to discover additional details about Kathy’s family and past, along with more examination of her feelings on what happened. On the other hand, fans of the original might be slightly let down by the new and expanded ending, which leaves very little room for alternative theories or interpretations — a departure from the previous closer.
Kathy Rain is still among the best narrative-driven titles in the point-and-click genre, and time hasn’t diminished it. The Director’s Cut is surely the best way to play. Any fans of the genre who missed it the first time no longer have any excuse not to give it a try.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Clifftop Games and published by Raw Fury AB. It is currently available on PC, Android, iOS and Switch. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on Switch. Approximately 5 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: The game is rated M for Mature by the ESRB, it contains Blood, Strong Language, Use of Drugs and Violence. While it isn’t more violent than an average modern TV show, considering the salty language and narrative about emotional trauma and violence, I would agree with the rating. Older teens at the very least.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All spoken dialogue in the game features subtitles, but text cannot be altered or resized. There are no audio cues needed for gameplay. In my view, the game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: The game can be controlled on Switch via the controller, moving Kathy with the left analog stick, selecting items with the right one, and interacting by using the R2 shoulder button, along with X to open the inventory and A to select items. Alternatively, it is possible to directly use the touchscreen.