Paradise Killer Review

Think twice because it’s another day for you in Paradise Killer. Though these Phil Collins lyrics may seem like nothing further than a pun, they define what this uncanny investigation-centred detective narrative game is all about-choosing who is culpable, ensuring you collect enough evidence to accuse the suspect responsible and giving second thought when the pieces may not add up as you intended them to.

You play as seductive Jessica Rabbit lookalike Lady Love Dies, a member of a deathless extra-terrestrial cult known as The Syndicate, whose modus operandi is to resurrect ancient gods to create a perfect society called Paradise Island. A huge serial killing of all Syndicate members takes place and it’s up to Lady Love Dies to find out whodunit. This means you will journey across the island to find and question the suspects involved, gaining information on their alibis, excuses, interests, personality traits and potential idiocy, then you will ultimately choose who to accuse and use evidence to back up your reasoning’s.

A text-based adventure at its core, Paradise Killer has you reading and rifling through reams of text and engaging in interrogations of the characters you stumble upon, with branching decisions to be made as you quest for answers. You will find yourself scanning case files for additional details on characters and reviewing their statements, allowing you to assess motivations and make sound judgments moving forward.

Paradise Killer at first shares irresistible comparisons to the Danganronpa series – particularly Goodbye Despair. The art-style, open exploration to find characters on the map, the text-based format, along with the investigations and mysteries that dangle down upon your head swinging back and forth like an oscillating knife, will convince you inspiration has been taken from Spike Chunsoft’s hit high school anime caper.

However, comparisons to Danganronpa are mainly abstract, adorned with a broader approach in how progress is made through the story. For instance, you can accuse anybody of the crimes based on your intuition, refusing to wedge you through murder investigations where one positive outcome leads to the next chapter. Thankfully failure is absent, meaning your decisions are at the forefront of the story’s outcomes and there’s an organic sense of progression.

The titular island of Paradise Island is vast with many off-shooting compartments, mixing in luscious jungles and sparkling seas seemingly circumventing the crampy claustrophobic concrete walkways and lined apartments with their tongue-like staircases poking out the doorframe mouths. There is plenty to see and traipse through which encourages you to uncover the secrets within.

You can walk anywhere you please, carry out your enquiries however you see fit and blame anybody you want. You aren’t given a hand to hold, suggested suspects to track down and question, nor any load times breaking you away from the island’s seductive beauty. This is your investigation and the game’s freeform design complements this excellently. You may find yourself bumbling about the paradise without clear direction, puzzled about whether you’re making progress or not, but your inclination to conduct the investigation in your own way is luxuriously liberating.

Supposing you do find yourself in a rut, drag can be alleviated by submitting your findings, questioning and placing blame on who you think is culpable, and watching the unfinished results play out. 

Wandering the island aimlessly not knowing what to do is an ailment you can cure if you so choose but at the risk of tarnishing the full picture – which is something you shouldn’t do as the revelations you can uncover contain the brunt to change your perspective and shift your general perception of who is blameworthy.

Sometimes suspects can withhold information unless you perform a specific task like gaining information from another suspect or pay a toll in the form of Blood Crystals. Blood Crystals are Paradise Killer’s sole currency concocted from the claret of slain council members; they are essential for item purchasing and can be found hidden in tucked away areas of the island for you to pick up and use.

Strange blue entities called Shinji can be found on Paradise Island who upon being encountered, utter peculiar musings and babblings and will suddenly end conversation and explode into nothing. Their existence adds pleasingly to the surrealist quirkiness of the game and its inhabitants, making you bemused but intrigued by their presence every time you interact with them.

For a modestly budgeted release, Paradise Killer does look ravishing. It’s tempting to marvel and drink in Paradise Island and curiously snoop and sniff out all it offers. In addition, there is a retro flavour coursing through its vibrant veins, which can be noticed in an early cutscene and once you see it you will come to know there’s more sophistication in Paradise Killer’s idyllic presentation.

Paradise Killer’s minimalistic audio echoes a sense of serenity amidst the harsh turmoil of its narrative in a compelling juxtaposition. The soundtrack is likewise very enticing and beautifully complements the themes and tensions of the narrative and the luscious paradise.

With roughly ten hours of runtime and reasons to replay courtesy of the variety of outcomes and lines of inquiry, Paradise Killer can entertain you for far longer than it should if you find yourself spellbound by its characters and setting. Despite the dreariness that hangs ominously overhead, you will want to stick around like a vacation you won’t want to leave.

Conclusion

Detective games usually shoehorn players down prescribed paths and direct you to what needs doing and when. Paradise Killer rejects such linear design and instead counters it fantastically, offering up a substantial level of freedom in both how you tackle your enquiries and the way the conclusions pan out. The agency Paradise Killer offers players makes you feel like the godmother of all gumshoes, and it looks ravishing to boot. You might be put off by its text-ample nature and exploring can make you feel like you don’t know where to go at times, but such criticisms are folly when the freedom at your disposal is so enticing. Unlike Eddie Money’s hit you only need one ticket to this paradise, and you should certainly take it.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox One console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.
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Good
  • Outstanding level of detective freedom
  • Alluringly eccentric characters
  • A Gorgeous pristine island to explore
Bad
  • Text heaviness is an acquired taste
  • Too much barren environmental space
  • Can be easy to get lost
8.9
Great
Written by
Although the genesis of my videogame addiction began with a PS1 and an N64 in the mid-late 90s as a widdle boy, Xbox has managed to hook me in and consume most of my videogame time thanks to its hardcore multiplayer fanaticism and consistency. I tend to play anything from shooters and action adventures to genres I'm not so good at like sports, RTS and puzzle games.

1 Comment

  1. Awesome review – thanks!

    Reply

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