Rainy Butcher is a visual novel with some puzzle solving built into the gameplay. Unfortunately it’s hampered by a rather wooden translation. On the bright side, the low price point makes this one a bit easier to take a gamble on.
As far as the visual novel genre goes, Rainy Butcher has everything you’d expect from a professionally made game. You have the ability to skip lines you’ve already seen, and there’s a healthy amount of save slots, for those of you who dislike being tied to a single save for a playthrough. There’s a constant soundtrack of music going on in any scene, and it’s serviceable. That being said, it’s very generic. There’s not really a good track, but none are particularly weak. The game is fully voiced, but only in Cantonese (Chinese).
That leads us to the first real stumbling block for the game: the translation. It’s competent enough, but they’re obviously literally translating things. If it’s machine translated, they at least paid for the advanced model, but there’s still more than a few errors with spelling and grammar. But more importantly, it all reads very dryly. Conversations feel unnatural, even when there’s no real errors, as do descriptions of scenes. This is a very real pet peeve of mine. Don’t get me wrong – I understand why foreign companies want to get into the English speaking market, but I feel like there needs to be more of an effort made on their part. A poorly translated game means that I’m going to care less about the story, and it’s definitely immersion-breaking. (That being said, I’m sympathetic to both the cost of translation services, and the difficulty of doing it on your own, especially for indie developers.)
The art is fine, though it all reminds me more of the art you’d see in a hidden object game or mobile title, particularly for the character portraits. Unsuprisingly, this game actually debuted as an Android/iOS free to play title, which certainly explains it a bit. You can find it in your app store of choice as “Serial: Rainy Night Butcher”). Like the music, it’s fine, but just very generic. For a game about a serial killer, I’d have expected a bit more style, which is somewhat disappointing. Pretty much everything in the game feels very much like a “by the numbers” decision, and while I’m not going to condemn them for their choice, I would like to have seen a bit more risk taking in order to make the game stand out.
The gameplay is divided between visual novel sections that occasionally lead to a choice (which may affect your ending) and puzzle solving “investigation” sections. While the VN sections are fine (translation issues aside), the puzzle solving feels forced and in many cases, just defied logic due to the setting. While some puzzles would make sense in the context of the game, others would be silly. For example, one scene had me looking for the combination to a locked cabinet in someone’s room. The combination was written on the blades of a fan, which I had to figure out how to turn off. (Because apparently the fan didn’t have an on-off switch, for some unknown reason.) Once I turned the fan off, I discovered they had written the combination on it, which is something no normal person would do, EVER. Another scene had me in my boss’ office, and he had a desk drawer which was locked with various shapes as the answer. And again, he literally had the answer scattered around his office in four different locations.
This sort of nonsense works in Resident Evil and similar games because the game world is clearly very different from our own. Rainy Butcher’s world, however, IS NOT. We are meant to view this as being the real world, and people in our world don’t have weird and convoluted locks at the newspaper office, nor do they scatter clues around unless they’re schizophrenics.
You can’t give up on the puzzles once you’ve started – you have to complete the room, and as often as not, they feel very tedious. You’re given a brief glimpse of hot spots, but those go away, leaving you to sometimes blindly click around until you find the exact spot it wants you to click to investigate something more clearly. The puzzles themselves range from exceedingly obvious into “what the heck do you want me to do here?” and none of them are very fun to solve. I feel like a hint system or a skip option would REALLY have made this a lot more tolerable. Fans of the visual novel genre in particular are likely to find this off-putting, because the story stops entirely until you get through these mandatory sessions. I understand WHY the puzzles are here – the dev is trying to add more “gameplay” to the experience, but these just don’t fit.
And so in a nutshell, if I had to give the game a school grade, it would be a C. It’s serviceable, but not really memorable. Nothing here really stands out, and there’s a couple of points that definitely drag it down, albeit slightly. I’d advise anyone to try the game on mobile first, as some of my complaints are definitely more of an opinion, as opposed to objective fact.
CLICK HERE TO BUY RAINY BUTCHER ON STEAM.
The Chuck is a lifelong gamer who was born in Ohio, but now lives in much closer proximity to Mickey Mouse.
The Chuck has found his life to be a series of improbable and almost unbelievable events, starting when he was twenty and caught the bubonic plague from a prairie dog. He was as surprised as anyone when he found out that's something that can happen.
When he isn't gaming, The Chuck can be found enjoying baseball, (American) football, pro wrestling, and horror movies. He is most commonly seen in the company of one or more cats.
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