It’s rare for a game to pop up from nowhere and really be capable of astounding those who play it. But that’s the case here and now with Rain on Your Parade by Unbound Creations. You see, whilst this isn’t a title that has gone totally under the radar, it is one that many would pass by without a second thought. Honestly, that would be a travesty as Rain on Your Parade is up there with some of the most fun, the most unique, the most humorous and the most well-designed, crafted, created and developed games I’ve played in recent years. In fact, Rain on Your Parade should easily be thought of in those ‘must-play’ lists that crop up every now and then.
Rain on Your Parade sees you taking on the role of Cloudy the cloud, a mischievous little guy who gains pleasure in ruining the day of others. A cardboard cutout on strings, it’ll be up to you to help move Cloudy through a variety of scenarios and arenas ranging from wedding days, to office areas, to military bases and back in time to when the dinosaurs reigned; raining, snowing, throwing down lightning and whipping up a bit of a storm in order to appease challenge masters. With a delightfully told story kicking around in the background, one that sees an elderly gent invoke tales on a youngster, narrating the life of this cloud, what Unbound Creations have managed to pull together is nothing short of remarkable.
There are more than 50 levels included in Rain on Your Parade, each of which will provide a number of challenges for you and Cloudy to complete. The simplest of these come in the form of soaking a set number of hoomans (yes, hoomans) with the power of rain, but dependant on the scene at hand, you may also need to put out fires, help grow gardens and more. With a rain meter nearly always present, restricting when and where you can deploy your drops, the early stages of Rain on Your Parade can fast feel like tactical and strategic affairs; as opposed to simply holding the A button and hoping for the best.
But then things take a turn and the madness unfolds as Cloudy begins to complete the challenges set, with mandatory ones covering level progression, others that work as optional objectives and more still which are hidden and only open up as you play out certain actions. It is here where further levels and powers become available. It’s not long before this delightfully fun little cloud is able to harness the power of lightning which allows the creation of fire and destruction, of snow and the chance to turn areas into slip hazards and people in snow-people, and that of the wind, whipping up tornadoes to move items from place to place. In a neat twist this latter option also brings forth a Katamari feel, as you and your powers grow substantially.
Each of these powers is assigned to a face button on your Xbox controller and each works brilliantly; the way they are drip-fed into the action is nigh on perfect in pace, and the entire playthrough will ensure that each individual, and then combined, powers are all used to near equal extent. You’ll even get the chance to utilise acid rain, or to spread explosive trails which can be lit up through the powers you possess. You’ll certainly never be left wanting with what Unbound have provided.
This is all brought together nicely by not just the tale that runs in the background, but some stupidly catchy, highly immersive music and soundtracks which are accompanied by cries of help and elements of terror, all as you turn the otherwise serene landscapes and internal areas into madcap masterpieces. Throw in the cardboard-styled, cartoony visuals that frequent every single stage and map area, and well, the love continues to transmit.
With a boss character – Dr Dryspell – who pops up every now and then to attempt to bring some context to why Cloudy is on his missions, and some simple yet effective ‘boss levels’ dropped in that mix things up, there’s very little that has been missed from the experience as a whole.
It gets even more engaging when you find a host of pop culture and video game references included as well. There will be times when Cloudy is found taking on levels like ‘Cardboard Gear Cloud’ which has been inspired by Konami’s epic, Cloudy Hill which brings a bit of spook to proceedings, and a Breakout clone called CloudOut. There will also be the chance to chat with folk like the frog from Frogger amongst others. The way these have been integrated into the systems at hand is nothing short of brilliant.
At best it’ll probably take you a couple of hours to work your way through Cloudy’s adventure, and then maybe another hour to go back and pick up any challenges you may have initially missed. But then a New Game+ also opens up, adding even more challenging opportunities to work through, along with, if you choose to accept them, missions that are hampered by an evil sun. It’s here where Rain on Your Parade finally begins to get a bit tricky. Include a variety of hats that can be earned by completing all objectives for each stage, and the chance to totally customise Cloudy as you see fit by creating his face how you wish, and it’s easy to continue to love nearly everything that has been created.
For the most part I’ve been pretty gushing about what Unbound have managed to bring together here, and for good reason too. However nothing is perfect and aside from the overall length of the game, there are just a couple of little issues with Rain on Your Parade that should be noted. But please, these are the minutest ripples in the pond, and hardly detract from the otherwise excellent experience.
Firstly, there are times when you’ll find that the hoomans frequenting the stages of Rain on Your Parade will happily walk through structures and scenery, disappearing from view. For the most part this causes no real harm, but occasionally when you are trying to shepherd the little folk towards a specific goal by scaring them witless with your thunder and lightning, things can get a little fiddly. Of course, much of the draw of Rain on Your Parade is in the madness and chaos that ensues, and so a swift blast of snow or a twirl of your tornado soon sorts things out. It’s just a shame that it needs pointing out.
There are also a few levels which just seem tacked on for the sake of it. It’s obvious to anyone who plays and completes Rain on Your Parade why Unbound Creations have seen fit to worm some high score grabbing stages in and amongst the story, acting as side quests to break up the norm. In reality they just seem a little too bolted on, only useful as a bit of filler. And really that’s not needed. I’d love a reason to play through these stages multiple times (and perhaps a global leaderboard situation could have been useful here), but as it stands, partaking in a bit of hooman bowling, wrecking a mosh pit and the like are disappointing additions alongside the main event.
When the main event is as good as the one in Rain on Your Parade on Xbox is, it’s easy to let minor issues slide. That’s exactly what should be done too as the positives that are found in this fun adventure by far outweigh the tiny negatives. This is an absolutely delightful, albeit short, romp through the life and times of a hero cloud, and Unbound Creations should be applauded for giving us the chance to ruin the day of others – all thanks to the power of the cloud.