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Small Town Blues: Kathy Rain

I played Kathy Rain at Gamescom and now that the first trailer is here, I’m eager to share my thoughts. If I hadn’t known it wasn’t a Wadjet Eye game, I would have thought it was a Wadjet Eye game. That’s the greatest compliment I can give to a point and click adventure in this day and age, and Kathy Rain’s grounded small town setting and strongly written protagonist are splendid. Set in 1995, it’s a mystery thriller that is intended to work as a homage to the Lucasarts games of the era, as well as mid-nineties music and television.

I played for around twenty minutes, working through the first of the game’s puzzles. The challenge was light and logical, and I was sold on the characters and story almost immediately. Kathy is a far more convincing and complex character than the chain-smoking, biker-loner image might suggest, and the central mystery is sad and believable. There’s a suggestion of darker forces at work and solo designer Joel Staaf Hästö cited Twin Peaks as an influence. He was (wisely) unwilling to be drawn on my probing about the details of the story and I’m eager to play more.

It’ll be released “when it’s done”, with voice acting the major missing element at the moment. Hästö is a one-person studio but the art is the work of several AGS and adventure art veterans. The experience shows – it’s a classy game and might fit into the hole where a new Blackwell game used to fit every once in a while.

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Adam Smith

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