There is a lot to love in Kathy Rain. The story has all the makings of an adventure game classic: You’ve got a family mystery, sprinklings of the supernatural, a plucky protagonist who don’t take no shit, and a cast of characters with depth and unique personalities.
You’ve also got an absolutely gorgeous presentation — everything from the amazing pixel-art graphics and the moody, evocative music to the superbly streamlined interface.
So what’s not to like?
This is a game that wears its influences loud and proud, like DIY patches on the back of a well-worn denim jacket. Particularly evident is its infatuation with the first Gabriel Knight game, Sins of the Fathers.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Sins of the Fathers was a great game. It had all the things that Kathy Rain aspires to, and, for the most part, Kathy Rain does an admirable job of tapping into the things that made Sins of the Fathers so memorable.
It does, however, play up this inspiration to an almost pathological degree.
Let's see. We've got family secrets, grandma, tape recorder, and we ride a motorcycle. What does this remind me of? pic.twitter.com/qPEvqWkzKV
Sometimes a game comes along that just speaks to you. A game that taps into that core essence of your being; that seems to know exactly what you are (or were, at one point) thinking.
I’m not saying MechaNika is that game, exactly. But it’s definitely close.
Introducing: Nika Allen, a 7 year old girl who is intelligent, a reader, good with mechanical things, and despises everything that isn’t awesome. That includes school, her family, and almost everyone around her.
Her goal is to build a giant robot that can lay waste to everything she disagrees with — which, I reiterate, is almost everything in the world.
What would you do if you were trapped as the last survivor of a nuclear fallout inside a surprisingly spacious bunker with a head full of neuroses and anxiety?
Well, shit, let’s find out. You play as John, a man born and raised inside the confines of this nuclear bunker, in an alternate reality where a nuclear strike happened sometime in the 1990’s and decimated the world’s population.
John spends his days checking for radiation levels, reading books to his dead mother (!), eating canned foods on the can (I couldn’t make this up), and fretting like a badger caught in a bear trap about the prospect of venturing out of his comfort zone. Because something in his past is haunting him; something he is not ready to remember.
The second ever video review of a game I have already played and intend to spoil the living shit out of for your viewing pleasure is here:
It’s LucasArts’ celebrated classic (and the first game I ever bought on CD-ROM, back when my pubes had barely grown in): Day of the Tentacle.
Recently re-released in a fancy Remastered edition by Double Fine, it is still every bit as spectacularly funny and brilliantly designed as it ever was. And, yup, I just spoiled my own spoiler-packed review for you there. So I really just saved you 30 minutes!
If you insist on watching it anyway, you can do so here:
(As a side note, yes, I realize one of my Patreon goals was to do these sort of reviews once a month. I clearly underestimated how long these things take to make. My patrons have been very understanding so far, but I really wish I hadn’t said “monthly.”)