While Rain On You Parade has been in beta for the best of a year, Unbound Creations have been busy improving both visuals and gameplay and now with the full release, look to have a low-key hit on their hands. For a game about rain, it should come as no surprise that this studio is based in Seattle and the rainy city is the final destination in this witty, surreal and charming game. And in our lead Cloudy, we have the cardboard hero we never knew we needed.
HERE COMES THE RAIN AGAIN
The game eases you in by requesting you to rain on all the “hoomans” or putting out all the fires, simple tasks that showcase the simple delight of raining disaster to create chaos; later, the game ramps up the challenge with more complex criteria, from avoiding a very grumpy sun, to not soaking anyone at all, dodging homing missiles, achieving a high score, gathering pine-cones and solving increasingly intricate puzzles, all are added to your to-do list. With one of the most satisfying aspects being the lack of punishment for failure, coupled with no time-outs, and the oft-repeated advice to remember to “have fun”, it’s clear where this games’ priorities are.
There are collectibles to be hoarded and later equipped, with items created or found displayed at the Homely Abode, Cloudy’s base, this is where you can change their appearance, starting with the colour of your choice, re-drawing that happy face, to customising Cloudy to your liking: hats, glasses and accessories from guitars to chainsaws allowing you to create a look all your own. One of the best and playable rewards here is an arcade machine featuring a Doom-clone arcade game entitled FPC! Horror has never looked so cute.
WHO’LL STOP THE RAIN
Every hero needs a nemesis and Cloudy’s is Doctor Dryspell, a dastardly man who hates the rain and only speaks in rhyme. The horror. He also has a penchant for intricate hideouts, poolside parties and laser tracking missiles. Good luck with those. Popping up from time to time, his levels are often the most challenging, requiring timing and patience to complete.
To aid in our hero in his quest, progression will unlock further abilities. Thunder gives Cloudy a lightening attack (I know. Don’t think too hard about it: you’re controlling a cardboard cloud. On strings). Allowing you to zap buttons and to shock umbrellas out of the humans’ hands and frighten them out from under cover. Oh, and blow up cars. Snow makes everything slippery underfoot and turns humans into snowballs, then finally with Tornado you can literally whip up a storm, gathering up people and items to plonk them down wherever you please.
Within some puzzles you’ll be given the opportunity to change up the mayhem, from dropping rocks on dinosaurs, to raining oil to spread fire and even poison to kill off crops. Really. Ruining that kid’s birthday party was a delight.
To give the proceedings some loose story, a Grandpa tells a bed-time tale to his grandson and seems to be having fun making this up as he goes along. Cloudy himself encounters some helpful folks on his journey. The Friendly Neighbourhood Gramma appears to explain how levels can be exited early and to make gentle references to better times on the internet; Froggie claims to be a famous frog from another game and often appears with a dramatic tale to tell. Both will make bizarre but fun requests of players – like gathering shopping or stopping hitchhikers kissing them in a basic tower-defence game.
ONLY HAPPY WHEN IT RAINS
I was delighted to discover a New Game+ after all the chaos we’d been creating. Keeping Thunder, Snow and Tornado for you to use, the levels have additional requirements for players to complete. They put a new spin on the levels and while there are no new items to earn the dedicated will want to complete these, often fiendish, new requirements. Try soaking everyone without raining, or more simply running against the clock. Occasionally, the fixed camera can be irritating in locating people or items blown off screen, but it never stopped the game from being entertaining.
Rain On Your Parade will turn you into a monster. A giggling, sniggering, grinning monster. The havoc and chaos a simple rain cloud can wreak is a simple and oh so addictive pleasure: wails of terror notwithstanding, ruining someone’s day is fantastic, knockabout fun. Channeling the liberating anarchy of Katamari Damacy and the charming humour of Little Big Planet, Rain On Your Parade is refreshingly fun and challenging.