Games like today’s topic are truly hard to put into words. There is a beauty in not caring about limitations of ideas, throw every single one presented into a blender, and see what the end result will be. Through combining parodies, gimmicks or even different genres together, it is always intriguing to see what you end up with when mixing different concepts. Unfortunately, since nothing is carefully prepared, it can also leave a strange taste in your mouth that you might not want to experience again or find difficult to recommend. Which sadly happened to Rain on Your Parade.
Dad humour at its worst
Have you ever been forced to tell a bedtime story? I have and so has the father of this introduction, who creates a tale on the spot for his child about a cloud who wants to find the mystical, fabled, and legendary Seattle, where they can rain on anything they want to at any time. An improvised story by the father, and this in a sense also reflects the entire game’s style and setup where things suddenly happen out of nowhere. Unfortunately, this is not done through strong forms of creativity.
This game has a huge focus on parodying familiar titles, such as Frogger, Metal Gear Solid, Super Mario, and even Silent Hill. However, it goes even beyond referencing games and also has stages based on shows like South Park and The Office, which are weirdly well done. This is a mix I am not sure I follow, as all of them seem randomly thrown in, but by people who clearly are fans of these titles. There is even a purple cloud colour, since this game needed to include a pun from a song by Prince and The Revolution. This forced inclusion of references comes off as a compensation for the random events occurring.
Suddenly you have to help grandma with her grocery shopping, suddenly there is a villain present, and suddenly zombies are attacking a city. Everything happens out of nowhere, because this game wants to be silly. Unfortunately, nothing leaves an impact due to how poorly implemented these events are and end as soon as they appear. Combine this with strange dialogues, like the clouds calling humans “hoomans” (which is a term used by dogs/cats), it generally feels like this title wants to be funny by throwing in references everywhere. I do applaud the attempt at being entertaining through its parodies, but nothing feels well thought out. Kinda like when I make bad puns due to no comedic skills.
Story Score: 3/10
Just so many dry jokes…
Rain on Your Parade can best be described as a mission-based puzzle-title, with both optional and mandatory tasks to take upon, with the latter being how you proceed to the next stage. You control a small cloud that starts off with only the ability to rain on people and objects. They have a water meter that drains as you tinkle, and can regain liquid by floating over areas of evaporation. This does open up for some creative puzzles, like absorbing oil in order to make a trail for fire to travel on or suck in coffee to fill up people’s mugs. Later on, you will even get powers like lightning for attacking anything beneath you and creating fire or snow for making the ground slippery and trap humans in.
This should have provided possibilities for creating interesting levels, but there are tons of problems that hold this game back. A main one, is really the uneven structure of the stages. Areas are always different with what they require for you in order to proceed, with some having multiple objectives you need to do and later ones just requiring you to stand still for a long time or take barely 20 seconds to finish. This inconsistency makes this title feel all over the place, which is especially strange when you get more powers to use, but the levels vary heavily in whether they require you to use them all or barely one.
The playthrough is made even worse by how insultingly easy the objectives are to accomplish, with nothing testing your skills in gameplay or logical thinking. There are some minor puzzles irregularly introduced, but I always found them too easy to accomplish, especially when the game blatantly tells you what to do. This also comes from the lack of creativity in the level’s designs. Sure, you will go on stealth missions, raise an army of the dead, and make awesome slopes for kids to slide on, but these are effortlessly done. There are constantly imaginative concepts being introduced, but what you have to do is always obvious and feels more like fetch-quests.
It is a shame that the levels can be severely dull and forgettable, as there are some decent ideas sprinkled around. I enjoyed one stage where you had to figure out how to become the weather reporter through subtle hints and another one for being a tribute to Breakout where all of your powers came in handy. Sadly, these are just small parts of a title that throws in different concepts without giving them good structures. This is to the point that this game has levels mimicking Doom, Metal Gear Solid, and even a traditional RPG for no real reason other than making parodies. It all feels unfinished, and while there are intriguing ideas here, it is hard to call any of them average.
Gameplay Score: 3.5/10
Excuses for bad graphics?
I believe that the vibe Rain on Your Parade is going for, is a form of a toy box. You have the cloud and the main characters being cut out off cardboard, houses that are simple designed, and even trees that fall down like plastic objects. However, everything except for the cardboard elements lacks strong textures and signs of craftsmanship to them, making the visuals come off as cheap. The effects of lightning, whirlwind, and so on are decent, but the lacklustre visuals of this world makes it all underwhelming. Even if I love how the cloud is attached to strings, simulating a puppet of sorts.
Despite that this game can be downright ugly to look at, the variety it offers through different locations to visit, like the wild west, up in a quiet mountain town, inside a busy restaurant, and even on the moon, provide this title some entertaining diversity. The parodies are impressively recreated, to the point where you can tell which episodes of The Office the developers were watching, and the different expressions of our cute cloud help to give them some personality. It is just a shame that everything looks rushed.
The music contains varied forms of genres, tackling jazz, rock, ambient, and plenty more, making it quite the interesting collection. All the tracks have nice and simple tunes, even if they are repetitive and forgettable. I probably can say the same about the sound effects, as they do their job and nothing else. Although, there are fun touches to the audio, like when your cloud holds a guitar and makes sounds of playing the strings whenever they are raining. A solid variety, just nothing in terms of quality to speak off.
Presentation Score: 4.5/10
Taking another tinkle
Each level has multiple objectives to take on and can even include a secret one, giving you a lot of things to do. While some objectives can be mediocre, there are some that encourage exploration, which is nice for scavenging the levels. The rewards are also worthwhile, since they can be accessories or hats for your cloud! Yes, you can actually personalise them, and this further extends to giving them different colours and even draw a new face on them, which is a cute touch. Not all objectives are exciting to do, but they add a touch more flavour to this bland playthrough.
What is the best part though, is that by beating the game, you will unlock New Game Plus where you can tackle all the levels again with additional objectives that use more of your powers! You even get Sun Mode as well, where you have a sun constantly chasing you and adding some needed difficulty to the game. These are great ideas that add more to this title, but it is terrible that you have to go through the entire main campaign, just for getting a more entertaining setup. Some objectives do not add much to the playthrough either, but at least you are getting something for your troubles. Even if you can become burned out by the sheer monotone of the first journey, and this does not exactly fix all of the problems this game has.
Extra Score: 5/10
I do legitimately love how unapologetic this title is with its variety and parodies, but it is hard to call it all a fun experience. There are some creative parts to it, but Rain on Your Parade never becomes mechanically interesting, and the whole project feels cheap and rushed. A neat concept with some good potentials, but it says something when the game does not become intriguing until the second playthrough. Only for those into cringy humour.