Post Apocalyptic Eastern Bloc Adventure Comedy in Paradigm
by Marcus Estrada
Adventure games have proved time and time again that they are far from dead. With that said, outside of a few standouts in the past few years, it doesn’t feel like the genre has necessarily been able to match some comedic titles as Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max, and the like. I say all this because Paradigm seems like just the kind of game that would have existed at that point. It brings dark humor, utter absurdity, and competent gameplay together into one of the most unusual point and click adventure gaming experiences I’ve had in a long time. And that’s just from testing the waters with its demo!
First one needs to know the setup for Paradigm, which is explicated in the demo via an introductory cutscene. This retro-looking commercial attempts to appeal to every parent’s dream to have a wonderful child. But more than that, it suggests that without modification from DUPA Genetics their child will become a horrible, useless asshole. To get the most supercharged brainiac child guaranteed you simply have to buy in. Apparently, that’s what protagonist Paradigm’s parents did. Unfortunately he didn’t come out quite as expected. Deemed a technical failure, the infant was disposed of where he ended up growing into adulthood on his own.
Paradigm doesn’t let this get him down. He may have multiple bulbous growths on his head and no nose, but he’s happy living in this sleazy town. At the start of the demo his goal is to become a famous electronic musician – but his computer won’t turn on. How ever will he compose his sweet beaties?! Well, first he has to get his other computer (and friend) John-3000 in the mood to seduce online singles, meet up with a drug addict, and retrieve a disc to reboot his machine. The demo doesn’t actually let you get through with all that, but it definitely cements the game in the realm of other adventure titles.
Aside from the protagonist’s very unique appearance, the visuals themselves are quite striking. The painted-looking backdrops are attractive and full of 70s and 80s flourishes. When clicking on an item to open up the actions menu, the menu itself is overlaid a cassette tape. Flourishes like these really cement the timeframe in all its awkward/awesome glory. Some of the jokes are decidedly more modern but it’s not a big issue. Most of the writing feels surprisingly fresh given the genre with tons of strangely humorous conversations between characters. A few lines fall flat, but overall the writing is promising.
It’s hard to gauge the puzzle difficulty because there wasn’t really much to deal with in the demo. However, upon starting Paradigm it did offer three difficulty settings which should help players allergic to typical adventure puzzle design. The highest difficulty should please existing fans in that it obliterates all tutorials, letting you get right into the action. In any case, what was showcased so far fell into the typical pattern of finding an item to use elsewhere and showing an item to a character to receive new information.
The environment and characters in Paradigm are paramount for its success. There’s just so much stuff that makes absolutely no sense. For example, the apparent enemy in the game is a sloth with a really neat hairdo. Sure, why not? Despite video games being a completely open playing field they rarely ever touch absolute absurdity. Seeing this one reach beyond conventions and “safe” choices is definitely appreciated. I’d really love to see this title usher in a trend of more unique adventure games. After all, the genre must do more than simply replicate the ones it loved. I’m excited to see what else Paradigm has to offer and hope other players love its offbeat style as well.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/marcus.jpg” ]Marcus is a fellow with a love for video games, horror, and Japanese food. When he’s not writing about games for a multitude of sites, he’s usually still playing one. One day when he became fed up with the way sites would ignore niche titles he decided to start his own site by the name of Pixel Pacas. Writing about video games is something he hopes to continue doing for many years to come. Some of Marcus’s favorite games include Silent Hill 2, Killer7, and The Sims. [/author]