The world could use more gaming comedies.
Following in the footsteps of the terrorizing goose of Untitled Goose Game, the developers at Unbound Creations are focusing on another picnic ruiner in Rain on Your Parade. You control a cloud who, to begin, has the power to, well, rain on people’s parades. Over the course of a few dozen focused levels, your intrepid cloud will ruin weddings, disintegrate crops, and even raise the dead. It’s a riotously goofy fun time that hits high highs in some of its more gonzo level concepts, but sometimes falters with vague objectives.
The whole game, from start to finish, is told from the perspective of a dad telling his kid a story about a cloud, which explains some of the inane chicanery. These brief story segments usually introduce new mechanics or twists. The pace is frantic but appropriate. Levels often fly by, but the plus side to that is you rarely labor on a specific idea for too long. Initially, your cloud can only rainwater to soak humans and flood areas, but before long, the cloud can fill up with other liquids to wreak havoc. From there, your destructive cloud regularly accrues other abilities, such as lightning, snow, and tornadoes, that add to the repertoire of powers and the complexity of the levels.
Some of that complexity is where some of the shortcomings crop up. The gag at the heart of Rain On Your Parade soars when you can just experience it like the joke it is. Linger too long on a specific level or objective and it stops being as funny. Some of the later levels are hilarious and incredible, but others present you with unclear objectives that need to be completed in specific ways to be cleared. Puzzling these out can be rewarding, but it’s also hard to discern the exact character or area of the map needed because the camera is just a little far back. I also had a lot of times where I triggered an objective and I didn’t really know how or why. The kinetic spirit of the game lends itself well to happenstance nonsense, but everything is at its best when the objectives are clear and you can just ride out the wave.
One of my favorite levels is an early one modeled after Metal Gear Solid. The cloud dons a headband a la Solid Snake and you have to navigate a snowy military base while avoiding the vision cones of different guards. You reach the end, trigger something, and then make your way back to the start while drenching the guards in water. It’s hilarious in its parodic execution and also features crystal clear objectives. I wish all of the ambitious levels were as good as that Metal Gear Solid-inspired one.
Even still, Rain On Your Parade is a humorous ride worth toying around with. It remarkably just goes for gusto whenever given the chance. Boss battles even crop up as, especially after the cloud does so much damage, some people out there really hate precipitation. Every level has a few mandatory objectives and some bonus ones. Completing all the objectives in the level unlocks new customizable parts for your cloud. You can give your cumulus hero a new hat or facial accouterment. Also thanks to the power of the Switch touch screen, you can doodle a new face on your protagonist.
I enjoyed Rain on Your Parade, largely due to its consistent creativity and invention. This is a profoundly silly game that operates in that often untouched comedic space in video games. Sure, not every joke lands, and sometimes the goals are underexplained, but that also just sounds like how I could describe every comedy I’ve ever experienced. I welcome more video game comedies like Rain on Your Parade.