Kathy Rain is a point and click adventure game that takes place during the late 1990s. You play as Kathy Rain, a college student who returns to her small hometown for her grandfather's funeral. While visiting, she becomes deeply involved in the mystery surrounding his life and death.
Pro Excellent soundtrack that fits each location
The accompanying background music for each location you visit fits the atmosphere incredibly well. Exploring a dark attic queues an ambient synth track with a creepy vibe. The church features a synth organ slowly playing a haunting tune. While visiting the cemetery, a reflective mellow melody plays out. The biker bar features a wailing guitar and drums in a catchy upbeat rhythm. In total, there are 25 songs, all original and made exclusively for this game.
Pro Retro point-and-click style is handled extremely well
Kathy Rain is a nod to the point-and-click games of the 90s era, so much so that is uses retro pixel graphics and the story itself takes place in the 90s. The interface is the typical click to move and hover over an item to interact. For example, hovering over a book will allow you to look at or pick it up. Everything you pick up is stored in your inventory, where you can then combine inventory items or use them on other objects in the environment to solve puzzles. All in all, it's smooth and easy to use, making it a great throwback game.
Pro Mysterious characters keep the "whodunit" theme strong
Throughout the game, Kathy's search for answers sees her run into about a dozen different characters around the small town. Upon first glance, they all seem to be normal, everyday people. Throughout your investigation, however, their secrets are slowly revealed, and in most cases, people aren't quite who they claim to be. Just enough information is given where you really want to keep digging in and uncover more, helping to keep you guessing what each one's motives and goals truly are.
Pro Strong detective vibe
Much of the game consists of going from location to location questioning people, searching the environment for clues, and chasing leads, while Kathy keeps track of it all in her notebook. When she makes note of something in this notebook - either through a conversation or an environmental clue - it opens that topic up for dialogue with every character you interact with.
This means that the bits of information you learn in one conversation or area will have you going back for round 2 or round 3 with a previously interviewed character or going back to an old area to comb for new information. Running around, discovering clues, interviewing the same people multiple times, and putting all the pieces together really drives the detective theme home.
Pro Kathy is a very interesting protagonist
Kathy is tough on the outside - she rides a custom motorcycle, puffs on her favorite brand of cigarettes, and doesn't take lip from anyone. On the inside, however, she is battling her own personal issues such as her strained relationship with her family and coming to terms with the loss of her grandfather. These issues come to surface as the game goes on and help to flesh her out as a very dynamic character.
She also has a very curious side. She is a college student majoring in journalism which helps to highlight both this inquisitive nature and refusal to back down from complicated situations. It is these aspects of her personality that send her out on the game's main adventure.
When she returns to her hometown from college for her grandfather's funeral, the secrets of his life and the mystery surrounding his death strongly intrigue her and prompt her to take action. Notebook and cigarettes in hand, and cruising around on her motorcycle, she sets out into the town to question the locals, search multiple locations, and get answers by any means necessary.
Throughout all her adventures and interactions, her sarcasm and wit shine through - she is both quick with words and very resourceful when it comes to solving her problems. By the game's end, she has proven to be a very capable protagonist whose many sides are revealed.
Con A few puzzles are not integrated well
While a majority of the game consists of average difficulty puzzles, some puzzles are so abstract and obscure, that they become difficult solely due to poor design. There is one particularly frustrating puzzle in the latter portion of the game that uses a very vague poem to provide clues. It is not entirely clear what you're supposed to be doing whatsoever, and results in a lot of trial and error or simply consulting a walkthrough.