It isn’t often that video games get Director’s Cut editions, but I think we’ll make an exception for Kathy Rain. The debut offering from developers Clifftop Games and published by Raw Fury, Kathy Rain first hit the road in 2016, with the Director’s Cut edition marking the five-year anniversary. Is it worth the revisit?
The basic plot of Kathy Rain hasn’t changed with the Director’s Cut edition. After her nosy roommate finds a death notice in a paper for Joseph Rain, Kathy journeys back to the town where she lived with her grandparents for a few years growing up and discovers a bizarre mystery in her grandfather’s history that connects to the town at large. Seeking closure for his death and their turbulent personal history, she decides, with her grandmother’s blessing, that she would get to the bottom of a mysterious incident that left him all but catatonic for over a decade. Along the way she also investigates a young girl’s drowning and possible suicide, a slew of missing person’s reports, and people losing their minds, while grappling with her own traumatic backstory.
Kathy herself is a dynamic character, with her design screaming “rebel without a cause!” She doesn’t care much about being polite or how she affects other people, but when she does try to have sympathy and be kind, she’ll do whatever she can, like when dealing with Sue and questioning her about the death of her teenage daughter. On the other hand, she sasses off the sheriff, tells the priest to suck it, and uses the local hobo for somewhat abusive purposes. No matter who she’s talking to, Kathy is always interesting to watch follow her own code of morality.
Other characters include her uber-Christian roommate Eileen, a perpetual good girl who somehow has the endless patience to deal with Kathy and still get along with her, failed actor Goober who, well, the name tells you everything and Kathy’s deceased grandfather Joseph Rain, a former military man who Kathy inherited much of her strict judgment from. It’s an interesting cast and Kathy plays off most of them quite well, with every person being tailor-made to fit their purpose in the story and given some small background.
The controls are simple and easy to use, with a spacebar to highlight all objects that can be interacted with on the screen, and clicking on one will let Kathy either observe or use the object. Click and drag mechanics are also at play for objects that need to be combined either on screen or in the inventory. It’s a simple system and easy to use even for beginners to the genre.
Puzzles, however, aren’t always that simple. While most are pretty easy to figure out, there are a few that don’t actually run on logic and there’s no in-game help or hint system, which would be useful. For example, figuring how to get into the back office of the sheriff’s station doesn’t make a ton of sense, but fixing the lightbulb to get up to the attic is extremely logical. Most puzzles are inventory-related but there are a few that involve numbers and codes, and unfortunately, there is no hint system in place to assist if you get stuck.
While Kathy Rain is still a great video game and does hold up as a Director’s Cut version 5 years after the initial game’s release, the Director’s Cut itself doesn’t add all that much to the experience. The core story, which was interesting, stays the same, as do the characters, and a few loose plot threads are wrapped up or expanded upon, but there were never any burning questions I had after the first game that I felt were not concluded adequately enough. For mega-fans of the original, the additional dialogue and a few extra puzzles and scenes will be a real treat, but for those who simply enjoyed the first iteration, you’ll feel like you’re basically playing through the same experience again.
The pixel art for Kathy Rain is still top-notch, full of detail and vividly bringing the world to life, though the character models do look a little strange at times, like Kathy and her cohorts should be just a bit taller to fit into their settings properly. Character design is well done, and the character portraits that appear whenever someone is speaking are, artistically, one of my favorite things about the game, with a wide range of expressions showing their personalities, though Kathy’s portraits are my absolute favorites.
Sound design and voice acting in the game are top-notch, with vocal direction by Wadjet Eye Studio’s Dave Gilbert and a cast including Arielle Siegel as Kathy and Shelly Shenoy as Eileen. Matthew Cohn also gives a convincingly creepy performance as The Red Man and Andy Chmelko fits the unfortunate but well-intentioned Lenny Marks to a T.
Overall, Kathy Rain: Director’s Cut is a fun experience, with an intriguing story and interesting characters, but it retreads the same ground from the original game. The only question I had left at the end was – when are we getting a sequel?
TechRaptor reviewed Kathy Rain: Director's Cut on PC with a copy provided by the publisher.
- Wonderful Pixel Art and Character Portraits
- Excellent Voice Acting and Direction
- Intriguing Mystery and Entertaining Characters
- A Few Strange Puzzles Without A Hint System