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Paradigm Review: A Very, Very Surreal Adventure Game
I´m at it again, with another Game review about a surreal adventure game called Paradigm developed by Jacob Janerka. I got this one a while ago, with the HUMBLE AUSTRALIA FIRE RELIEF BUNDLE, and only just now got around to playing it (you should see my backlog, yeesh).
The game is set in the post-apocalyptic Eastern European country of Krusz, and you play as a weirdo mutant called Paradigm, who is obsessed with "Phat beatsies’" and wants to become the best musician in the world.
Also, he´s the result of a Child Prodigy Genetics program from DUPA Genetics gone wrong. I mean look at him, talk about a face that a mother can only love.
So as with the other program rejects, he gets dumped on Krusz and left to fend for himself, and finds comfort in his music. But before he can finish his latest EP album he is dragged into a weird adventure involving glam metal, and other colorful characters.
Yes, Glam metal, there is an entire cult around it and part of some nefarious plan to conquer the world, just go with it
It´s very clear from the getgo that this is one big homage to Lucasarts games like day of the tentacle, monkey island, and full throttle, which seems to be the norm these days, there´s even a couple of easter eggs if you look close enough. Really, where else can you find a game involving a World Conquering Sloth that vomits candy?
I would say the story is very entertaining especially with oddball humor and self-deprecating jokes about puzzle games, at one point it involved tricking a cone by using a giant magnet, challenging a Pug to a RPG battle, murdering a sentient watercooler, and somehow getting stuck in a digital 80/90´s vaporwave space, there so many twist and turns.
Speaking of which an example of this puzzle relating humor, the change of different gameplay styles, one moment your using items, and the next you´re in a beat´em up game, playing through a visual novel.
When it comes to puzzle solutions it´s not all that hard to figure it out, and if you get stuck, you can always ask your very own tumor (which is sentient for reasons) and he will point you in the right direction. But if you really, really get lost, the game will link you to the full walkthrough provided by the developer, which was nice of them.
Also as soon you go to a new area, it unlocks on the map where you instantly teleport without going through the hassle of walking and backtrack to solve a puzzle.
What I love about this is the very colorful 2D design, which can be described as "Pixar meets Fallout" it´s very pleasing to look at, making even the mutant Paradigm kinda cute but in a grotesque way.
They went all-in with a variety of styles, from pixel art to beautiful hand-drawn backgrounds, at one point in the game they even use claymation.
Not to mention Kush itself looks more like a brutalist post-soviet location, and there is a ton of 80s/90s tec lying around.
The voices are decent too, in going with the absurdist humor you got a variety of accents going from an imitation of an Eastern European accent, as well as some British and Australian ones. That being said it can be hit and miss at times, with some voices being hard to understand, or slightly annoying, but it´s not a big problem.
When it comes to the soundtrack, Jonas Kjellberg did a pretty good job in setting up the tone with his music, you got a couple of retro tunes to electronic music, which I like to imagine is what Paradigm EP would sound like.
This is a very memorable game that tickled my funny bone. I did enjoy the absurdist humor, and had fun searching every single nook and cranny and use all the different interactions just to see what Paradigm has to say about it.
The game isn´t that long, it takes about 6 to 8 hours to complete, and if weird games are your thing, feel free to check this one out.