Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE - Nintendo Switch Review

Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE by developers Spike Chunsoft and Too Kyo Games and publisher Spike ChunsoftNintendo Switch review written by Natasha with a copy provided by the publisher.
Estimated reading time: 10.5 minutes

Dear Readers,

You have been chosen to embark on an investigation to uncover the unusual cases that have gone cold in an enclosed city. Outsiders are prohibited, but you have been given special permission to access this deadly dystopia to sift through the infinite downpour of murders. With the dictatorship of a corporate enterprise pulling all the strings in their favour, you'll have to use your super sleuthing skills and forte to dig up the truth.

Sincerely, your reviewer!

P.S. Don't forget to pack your own death god.


The Letter

Our mystery begins with our young detective Yuma, who wakes up in a train station storage room with a letter in his hands. Dazed and confused, he can't remember how he got there or who he is, save for a boarding pass with his name on it. Under the pressure of his amnesiac thoughts, he rushes to catch the leaving train, bound to an unknown destination.

Once aboard he comes across a group of individuals who call themselves Master Detectives, however there seems to be a problem: only five people received invitations to board this express and there are six of them. Someone deceptive is among them and everyone seems to be pointing their fingers at Yuma. How is he going to solve this and the many other strange murders that seem to rack up around him...?

Why, with the help of the cutest ghostly apparition, of course! Calling herself, Shinigami, Yuma finds himself contracted to a death god with a thirst for her new master and digging up the truth.

Shall we boom-kill him now? Kyahahaha!

Wait... That wasn't the Main Story?

Nope, gotcha!

Actually, Master Detective Archives: RainCode does a really good job of giving you a really lengthy tutorial. The real investigation happens in Kanai Ward, a secluded city that can only be accessed by train. Yuma was brought in by the WDO (World Detective Organization) to investigate Kanai Ward's Ultimate Secret. With the help of other fellow detectives that survived the trip, they must pool their investigative prowess together and solve the secrets of this city.

However, it won't be easy. Detectives are greatly looked down upon and anyone caught doing any investigation on crime scenes or murders are immediately reported to the Amaterasu Peacekeepers. The enforcement keeps a short leash on everything that goes on in this never-ending rainy community.

Their top priority is to quickly sweep anything under the rug and deem it as 'solved', even if you're innocent. If you happen to be at the scene of the crime when they arrive, you are labelled the culprit. That's it. End of Story. Sign and print your name on the dotted line. This unjust behaviour is probably why this gloomy city keeps its secrets under wraps.

Yuma isn't having any of it. He'll have to play dirty in order to shed light on the truth, and he has just the ghost to do it.

Time to Pull out that Monocle

When the bodies start rolling, Yuma starts probing--- focus people! I meant probing the crime scene. Duh! To be more specific, once a crime starts it's up to us (Yuma and Shinigami) to investigate the situation.

Let's start off by saying this game is heavily influenced by Danganronpa. Long story short, the Ronpa series is all about investigating strange deaths. RainCode takes from Spike Chunsoft's previously successful titles and spices things up in this adventure.

You'll start by investigating several different areas related to the crime scenes, gathering bits of evidence to help you along the way. Shinigami will collect anything that seems important and turn them into 'Solution Keys', which can be used later.

During your investigation you might have the aid of other detectives by your side. And with these high class investigaters lending a hand you'll be able to use their special powers. What? Did you think that everyone, other than Shinigami, was NORMAL? HAH!

Forte Over Your Ability

These peeps ain't your ordinary detectives. The WDO do have a number of members, but some are born with special powers. Those powers are known as Forte's. No two powers are the same, unless you're our boy Yuma, who has the ability to share another person's Forte by holding hands. Oh-la-la!

With the ability to share other Master Detectives Forte's, you'll have access to hidden details that may have been missed or covered up by the Peacekeepers, giving you more clues to pocket. Even with all the help provided for you, Yuma seems to be a magnet for trouble, which can put him in hot water at the best of times.

That Time my Death God Threw me in a Dungeon

When the going gets tough we gotta remember: Magical Death God Transformation is a real thing. Right when you think all hope is lost, Shinigami will reveal her true self, a vivacious, voluptuous, sexy, scythe wielding God of Death... who can stop time and kick your ass into a mystery labyrinth.

Once you step into this dungeon of chaos, you'll finally get to dive into all that evidence you collect to move forward with solving this case. But first, you'll need those 'Solution Keys' your godly companion saved up.

*Rainbow barf all over your Master*

Master! Don't forget the Solution Blade!” Shinigami snickered as she drew Yuma's hand up her bodice and down her throat. Pulling forth a blade to slice through the truth.

I'm not kidding... This stuff happens. Yuma will need this weapon to move through the labyrinth. Otherwise he'll wander this hell-space for all eternity. Teehee!

I'll Beat the Truth Out of Ya

As you venture through the different levels you'll be faced with several obstacles. One being a fork in the road. These dividing paths will help you move forward, but only one of them is right. You'll have to fish through those key points of evidence you have collected, as well as---

*Pulls out scythe and slices your Master head*

AHHHHHHH!” Yuma screams!

Chill, Master! I'm only trying to give you a hint!” Shinigami giggles as she pats your intact neck. “Now, focus!”

Shinigami will lend a hand from time to time in a bloody display of hints.

The second obstacle will be the Mystery Phantoms, A.K.A boss fights. The Mystery Labyrinth is basically the physical manifestation of the crime scene, in a weird and twisted way. Which means if there are people trying to stop you from investigating in the real world, then their phantom form in this maze is also trying to stop you from figuring out the truth.

They'll stop you from advancing at different points in the dungeon and when they appear, watch out, cuz they're ready to rock your world upside down, with accusation, refutes and deception, isn't that metal? It's your job as a detective to take all that evidence and slash through their contradictions. It ain't easy though, you'll have to match up the right clues and dodge multiple rebuttals in order to find an opening. Get hit or choose a wrong answer and you'll lose health. So make sure you study those crimes scenes and evidence with a fine tooth comb.

Double Take Mini Games

I never thought I'd ever get the chance to play 'Pop-up Pirate' in my life-time, but MDA:RC somehow manages to squeeze that experience in the game. Besides the Scythe, Shinigami can also give you hints via a quick mini game of Pop-up Pirate, where she pulls out a barrel and magically changes into a bathing suit and transports you to a tropical paradise, all so you can play a word puzzle game. This game continues to blow my expectations on the amount of fan service it throws at it. And I'm A-OK with it! Nothing like a cute little poses to reward your puzzle solving skills.

Did I mention that there's a GOD MODE!?! Let's just say it's a lot of big bouncy FACTS hurled towards your tyrannical size ADVANCES. Plus, you get the best seat in the house, riding atop those sweet luscious LOCKS.

It's All Coming Together

Once Yuma reaches the end of the labyrinth you'll have to sew together the entire outcome of the case and show the Amaterasu Corp. and murderer the whole truth. This section will seem familiar to past Ronpa's fans, but you are tasked by dragging the right scenario into it's proper slot. Imagine a comic book with blank pages and you have panels depicting the entire case, step by step, and it's your job to stick any missing panels in their correct slot to make sense of the story. But don't get it wrong, because, you know... eternal damnation and forever floating in this abyssal maze.

After solving the case you'll have the chance to Moon Prism Power your way back to reality!

Never too Late for a Side Quest

When our cute little sleuth isn't fighting off pesky Peacekeepers and shady murderers he can lend an ear to the plights of other troubled citizens of Kanai Ward. Side Quests are optional, but they are worth going out of your way for. Most of the quests consist of you fetching information, but for every quest you finish you'll earn DP (Detective Points).

Finding available quests is really easy. They'll pop up on your mini map displayed as a green question mark. They will also appear if you open up the whole town map, indicating which district has one active.

It's a Skilled Trade

Let's bring your attention back to DP. These points will be helpful to Yuma if you go out of your way to collect them. You can gather them via quests, but they can also be found with a little exploration of the areas. Talking to people on the streets or interacting with points of interest will slowly build Yuma's level gauge. DP is the equivalent to EXP (Experience Points) in this universe, so levelling up Yuma is strongly advised if you want to traverse the Labyrinth with ease.

For each level Yuma gains, he'll be able to collect SP (Skill Points) which can then be used to unlock Skills. These skills will be extremely helpful in the dungeon from puzzle solving to fighting, giving you the boost you may need to combat harder situations.

I'mma take the Bus

As you explore Kanai Ward, you'll slowly unlock new areas of interest to the story, which can become quite the trek for our petite protagonist. Luckily, the game gives you a saving grace by supplying us a fast travel from the get-go. It is recommended to really scope out a new area on foot once it becomes available, but it will become grueling when you have to backtrack. Thank goodness the local Bus Stop travels are FREE!

This ain't no Cutscene

Oh, boy... I'm getting Resident Evil 4 flashbacks. One of the things that tends to really send me off track is the surprise ATE's (Active Time Events) they like to throw at you. They are random and uncalled for.

When you think everything is chill in a scene and you can lay back and sip on a nice cold beverage. NO! YOU CAN'T! Because you'll have to spit that drink out, fumble back into a sitting position and press A. Whoop! Too slow. You fail.

They don't happen often, almost to the point where you forget that that feature exist and you let your guard down and BOOM, A.T.E.!

I'd like to show my Master where he can stick those shitty events. *Cracks Knuckles*

Lip Sync Whiplash

Another thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is the HD cutscenes. As beautiful as they are the voice lines don't match the lip sync. To me it reminds me of those old exaggerated Chinese dub Kung-Fu movies that purposely made you slap your knees to get a good laugh out of ya. However, these syncs aren't subtle and I'm not sure why it hasn't been addressed?

Ending on some Rainy day Ambience

To conclude, Master Detective Archives: RainCode blew my expectations out of those rainy gutters. The amount of Danganronpa influence and slap-stick humour (which I love) just seems to send me into a giggle fit of enjoyment. The game is not afraid to push the boundaries and freely express the kind of doom and hopelessness it's trying to send. The investigation, story, and characters are memorable and the music hits just right. The satisfaction I get from pointing out the murderer, BEFORE the big reveal, gets my blood pumping and makes me feel just as talented as the rest of the detectives. This game gets my gleeful rating of 9 out of 10.

Now then... Where can I get my own personal Death God? Hopefully they comes in all shapes and sizes!

Score: 9 / 10


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