When a battle kicks off, you’re given a screen where you can choose to freely switch out your party members. This is good, because you can fully analyze enemies before you commit, so you can cherry pick the monsters you think will be most useful for each and every situation. Instead of going into battles blind, HOPING you have a team that will work, “Rain-Slick 4” says, “Hey, we don’t want you getting frustrated. Here, we’ll show you what’s up and then you can react accordingly. After that, if you still lose, then it’s your stupid fault.”

Thanks!

And then, even IF you manage to pick a poor team, you can use a “Switch” item in battle, which simply allows you to switch one monster for another. Even better, is that the new monster will get a nice MP boost when switched in.

This allowed me to create teams for a variety of different situations. I had a team that could throw out cheap but effective spells that hit every enemy. I had boss teams and mini-boss teams, magic teams, physical teams, status teams, whatever. The point is, I was always playing around with my monster set-up and always playing around with different strategies. That’s one of the things that makes RPGs so satisfying and “Rain Slick 4” allows you to do it so effortlessly.

Even more fun is the actual monsters themselves. Instead of going out, throwing orbs at monsters’ heads, and hoping to add them to your menagerie of doom; you get monsters as part of the story or as you explore hidden areas and convince them to come with you after you’ve hit them in the face enough times. There is no randomness, no inventory of balls to keep track of, and no breeding. Shame on that last one though, could’ve been sexy.

Anyways, your group of misfits is a colorful and lively bunch of creatures, which makes them a blast to use. Now, stay with me here, but I’m going to go into informercial mode.

Got eyes that need clawing out? Summon Mr. Beaks to remove those tough to remove optical sight-bringers!

Like juice but hate juicing it yourself and trying to defend it from baddies at the same time? Well, saddle on up to fruit enthusiast Fuschia and have her make it, feed it to you, then smack a foe in the face!

Like soda but hate having to carry it around? Simply scream, “Vendorr, be mine and so much more,” and you’ll have access to your very own, sentient vending machine!

If you like Penny Arcade, then you’re already familiar with how versatile and useful all of these monsters are! If you’re not, then this is the perfect time to order and find out for yourself what EVERYONE is talking about!

But wait, there’s more! Order now and find out what Twisp and Catsby talk about when no one’s listening.

But wait, there’s still more! For the next 30 minutes, we’ll throw in Murch…for free! ORDER NOW!!!

Ha! Internet humor! You know us too well, Penny Arcade!

Ha! Internet humor! You know us too well, Penny Arcade!

Alright, got that out of my system.

Right, so as soon a new monster forced its way into my orb, I would immediately throw ‘em into the fray and see what they were all about. They didn’t always make it into my rotation, but I saw their potential. That’s really what will draw a lot of players into the game: the potential of so many different teams and strategies for any given situation.

Each and every battle, even against disposable henchmen, requires your undivided attention. You can not simply mash the attack command and win. In fact, I found myself rarely using the basic attack, because it’s usually the least effective. Since you go into every battle at 100%, the game expects you to give 100% to them. This constant engagement makes you more invested in what’s going on, instead of just going through the motions like a lot of RPGs.

It’s such a simple concept, but one that RPGs rarely seem to get right. They almost always seem to take the lazy way out, leaving the player with a plethora of tactical options that are useless. You’re give a massive spell list, items out the wazoo, and various status effects you can employ. And yet, the basic strategy is almost always attack, attack, attack, heal, attack attack, heal, attack attack attack, heal, attack, win. If you make a game where just attacking and grinding is the most effective method of winning battles, then where is the fun?

Besides, you can’t even grind in “Rain-Slick 4” if you want to. Monsters don’t respawn and there is no colliseum to fight in like “Rain-Slick 3”. Zeboyd expertly balanced and paced their game in such a way that the old RPG grinding mechanics became irrelevant. If you lose, it’s because you’re not thinking enough, not because you’re underleveled.