I have to hand it to the development staff of Rain Code: They are very skilled at completely upending your expectations from the get-go. I certainly expected to be shocked and surprised, given that these are the minds behind the beloved Danganronpa series–they know a thing or two about throwing players narrative curveballs out of nowhere–but even I wasn’t expecting what happened after about 30 minutes of introduction. I wanted to put the Switch down and give a little “Well done!” clap. It’s a bit of a shame, though, because after that, none of the other cases ever reach the same high, despite some great moments. That’s Rain Code in a nutshell: It can’t quite reach the greatness of what came before it.

Rain Code begins with a young man waking up in some sort of storage room. All he can remember is that his name is Yuma Kokohead and he’s got to catch a train that’s headed to Kanai Ward–a corporate city cut off to most of the outside world, shrouded in perpetual, neon-lit darkness and rain, run by the Amaterasu megacorp, and controlled by the militarized Peacekeeper force. It’s not long after he boards the train that he finds out why he’s going there: He’s part of the World Detective Organization, which is sending several agents in to investigate Kanai Ward’s ugly secrets. He also soon discovers why he has amnesia: It turns out he made a deal with a death god for special powers and offered up his memories in exchange.

That death god, Shinigami, mostly hangs around in the form of a tiny ghost that only Yuma can see. It reads his thoughts and makes sarcastic comments until there’s a mystery to be solved, which is when Shinigami stops time and transforms into a buxom demon maiden to whisk him away to mind-palace Mystery Labyrinths where things get buck-wild. Here, he must battle logic monsters, evade dastardly false-solution traps, and unlock doors with Evidence Keys that Shinigami barfs up in a shower of rainbows. And also maybe crush thought barriers riding Shinigami as a giant kaiju. And play Pop-up Pirate with her in a barrel on the beach. Yeah, it’s all just a little weird.

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