As part of this month’s Humble Bundle Monthly subscription I received Kathy Rain. I was pretty excited to try it out because it sounded like the type of game that I would enjoy (I love a bit of mystery and detective work). Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed by this game.
The game centers around Kathy Rain, a young woman at University, who discovers that her grandfather whom she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl has passed away. She goes to his funeral and visits her grandmother only to learn of a mystery incident that happened many years before. She decides to investigate the incident to find out what really happened to her grandfather.
The first thing I noticed about this game was the graphics. I don’t hate low quality graphics but I do prefer my games to look pretty. Kathy Rain has very heavily pixelated graphics, which can sometimes look great, but I didn’t particular enjoy them in this game. In some shots Kathy’s hair just looked ridiculous and most of the characters looked nothing like the portraits that appeared during conversations.
I will say that the gameplay mechanics were quite good. The game had a certain level of freedom during conversations and interesting ways to solve puzzles. I always forgot to ask the person I was talking to about certain items that I had. This led to me missing crucial pieces of information (and needing to look up the answers online).
What I liked least about this game though was the story line itself. From the description, I was expecting the game to be about Kathy trying to solve her grandfather’s death, expecting it to be a murder. I was dissapointed to find out that the incident she was investigating had happened many years before hand. Once I got over my disappointment of the difference in expectation and reality I was actually enjoying the game the for a while. I even got shivers when the computer started repeating a line of words specifically directed at Kathy.
As the game moved further on, I started to realize that the strange things that were happening were not going to be explained and that the game was actually going to be completely unrealistic. The rest of the game made it seem like everything that was happening (gods choosing people, massive holes in the ground with escalators and elevators leading to a mash up of the locations visited during the game, ghosts of parents and girls, etc.) was real. The very end of the game, though, asked the question of whether or not it was all real. That just didn’t seem to fit to me, although it could have all been a drug induced haze by the strange plant growing in the woods.
I was expecting the game to be a believable story of a young woman’s adventure to find out who had murdered her grandfather but what I got was a unbelievable and entirely strange story of a young woman trying to solve a mystery that happened many (many) years before. Mostly what this game left me with was a strong desire to play a realistic (and good) detective game. I wonder what Nancy Drew games are in my house at the moment…