Sun. May 19th, 2024

[Review] Kathy Rain Director’s Cut – Nintendo Switch

By John Bush Jan11,2022
Kathy Rain Director's Cut

Kathy Rain Director’s Cut
Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Clifftop Games
Published By: Raw Fury
Category: Point-and-Click Adventure, Puzzle
Release Date: 10.29.21
Composers: Daniel Kobylarz

When I first saw the screenshots for today’s game, Kathy Rain Director’s Cut, they showed me a pixel art point-and-click adventure heavily featuring motorcycles. Could this be a game paying homage to of one of my favorite Lucasarts adventures, Full Throttle, I asked myself? The game answered me with a resounding “No, not at all,” but it turns out that was for the best anyway. Kathy Rain Director’s Cut is an engaging and intriguing mystery adventure in its own right. And it’s not really about motorcycles.

Kathy Rain Director's Cut

Raining on Kathy’s Parade

The story begins (and ends, I guess) in 1995, when Kathy Rain’s roommate, Eileen, finds an obituary for one Joseph Rain on this new-fangled thing called “the internet.” Turns out, that’s Kathy’s estranged grandfather, and the funeral is the next day. Kathy decides to head over and see her grandpa buried, whereupon she discovers that he had been catatonic for the last decade and a half of his life. No one really knows what the heck caused him to be that way, so Kathy, as a journalism student, takes it upon herself to solve the mystery of her grandfather’s condition.

Kathy’s increasingly supernaturally-leaning investigation is at once a general mystery about the Conwell Springs community and an intensely personal and human investigation of Kathy’s life and past. Both storylines are immensely intriguing, engrossing, and rewarding to experience. The script is compelling, original, and well-written. The most important things in a narratively focused game are the writing and story, and Kathy Rain Director’s Cut perfectly executes both.

Kathy Rain Director's Cut

Point, Click, Repeat

While I absolutely loved Kathy Rain’s unique narrative, its gameplay is a little less distinctive. It neatly fits the classic point-and-click archetype, which isn’t necessarily a problem. As Death’s Door so ably showed the world, execution will trump innovation any day. And Kathy Rain Director’s Cut executes its formula very well. The puzzles offer a range of challenges and some variety of techniques to solve them. Sometimes you’ll need to ask a character the right questions in the right sequence, sometimes you’ll need to show the right person the right item, and sometimes you’ll have to figure out how to combine the proper items in the proper order. Again, it’s all fairly standard for the genre, but when it’s done this well it doesn’t matter that it’s been done before.

Kathy Rain Director's Cut

Picturesque Conwell Springs

I’ve talked so much on this site about how much I love the pixel art aesthetic that I’m running out of ways to talk about it. Kathy Rain Director’s Cut makes thoroughly stunning use of the style, however. The character sprites are distinctive and detailed, despite a relatively small range of animations. Backgrounds are lushly detailed and at times breathtakingly beautiful. Even if the story and gameplay were terrible, I’d still recommend Kathy Rain based solely on its strong visuals. The sound design, which includes full voice-acting, is no less impressive. The music is mysterious and tense enough to match the mood of the narrative, while the voice actors deliver compelling performances that fill in all the subtle bits of character that sprites don’t quite convey. Like the narrative elements, the art and sound direction for Kathy Rain go above and beyond to deliver a compelling experience.

Kathy Rain Director's Cut

Kathy’s Reign

There are far worse ways to spend a weekend (or long afternoon) than exploring what Kathy Rain Director’s Cut has to offer. It’s got an engrossing narrative, refined gameplay, and gorgeous pixel art graphics. For anyone who loves great stories, well-developed characters, or solving puzzles, this game has something to satisfy those interests. Heck, if you just enjoy good video games, Kathy Rain Director’s Cut is a can’t-miss experience.

  

Buy Kathy Rain Director’s Cut
Digital/Physical – $14.99

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The Switch Effect was graciously supplied a code for review purposes.

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