The Rainsdowne Players is a story-based, RPG, action game that sees you doing a lot for your love of the theatre. You play as two individuals, a shy girl and a more talkative guy, who are trying to get a town theatre up and running.
The thing is, in The Rainsdowne Players, the theatre is leaking, the pay is low and you’re still trying to figure out how to please various customers. The beginning of the game is quite easy; you name your two characters and then take on your first play. Before the performance starts, you normally get to swap out the various cards for key points within the play. This will comprise up the story; providing locations, reasons, encounters, different characters and an outcome.
Once your cards are in place, you then start the show. As you take on more and more plays, they become much more challenging to execute, but for the first one only water bottles are being thrown at you. It seems like the townsfolk really like giving you a hard time. You’ll need to time the jumps of both characters correctly to not get hit.
As you become better at performing, you’ll have tomatoes thrown at you, paper airplanes, rocks, fish — you name it. All of these different items bounce differently and take a different amount of time to hit the performers. When doing an average play, you’ll really need to be mindful, as if you get hit too many times, the play will end in defeat. If you do pass then you will be given coins, which can be spent on outfits or on revealing what the audience wants to see.
Since you are a new theatre troupe that’s on the wrong side of the town, you’ll need to constantly talk with the audience. This is where the two different characters come in. The shy girl is more able to watch and observe people, getting ideas for the next play through watching. The male character is more competent at talking to individuals and figuring out exactly what they are looking for when it comes to the next performance. If you figure out what cards the audience wants to see within the play, you’ll get a bonus to your money and reputation.
The building that you live in, your main theatre, isn’t the only place you can perform. As you explore around the town for inspiration you can unlock other buildings to grow an audience from. A pub that’s run by an octopus, and used to be a restroom, will allow you to play music to your story, as long as you press your buttons in a clockwise manner. There is a sword fighting dojo where you need to press arrows in bubbles before time runs out, to both tell your story and not get stabbed.
The Rainsdowne Players does add a bit of story as you play in these different stages for the first time and they bring a whole new crowd. Exploring the town also brings up little mini-games like fishing for extra coins, a button mashing game about exercise and strength, and even one where a camera guy takes your photo and you pose for a bit. These little games add story and depth to the characters you’re interacting with.
The entire day is on a timer, so you will need to decide how much of your time is spent exploring, playing mini games and performing. Various characters are only out at specific times of day, so exploring and keeping your days varied is a good idea.
On top of characters and story that you can trigger through talking — especially through characters with an exclamation bubble above their head — some days come with new challenges to progress the story. At one point, a large group of children from a school came, forcing me to do my performance while throwing the right colored candy to the right kids standing in front of the stage. There are also hints of a darker story, as the female character struggles with her confidence, feeding into what’s going on.
The Rainsdowne Players is a strange game, with all that said. There’s really a lot going on, a lot of characters with backstories, but the game is lacking in other areas. There are points within the game where there is just no audio, no background music, and only small sound effects. This makes it feel unpolished, as the music fades and nothing replaces it during a mini-game.
Many of the mini-games — as well as your first performances — don’t actually give you a lot of instructions, so you’ll need to figure it out I found this to be super frustrating, as I was thrown off stage for not knowing exactly how to behave on my first try ever. The performance at the bathroom-turned-pub didn’t really tell me I was doing something wrong until the crowd was gone and I thought about what the female character said at the start of the show.
If you get over these minor issues, The Rainsdowne Players does have a lot to offer, especially if you’re a fan of games with good story and a variety of mini-games. It’s great value for money, not costing much at all and having a lot of things to do in it. It seems like everyone in this town has their own story, background, and wants from your show — you just need to talk to the right people to get inspiration and make it happen. Hopefully you will be able to help both of these characters achieve their dream of being the best troupe in town.
You can play The Rainsdowne Players on PC and Nintendo Switch.