Switch version tested
Review code provided
The Metroidvania genre is one of the most popular types of game to come to the Nintendo Switch recently. I am starting to wonder if Metroidvania style games will become oversaturated soon and be forgotten about for years like action-platformers from the N64 era. Although, I am a bit off-topic and perhaps that can be a discussion for a later date.
Paradox Soul is another Indie-pixelated-metroidvania type game to be ported over to the Switch. Originally, the game was Kickstarter funded in 2017 and released by Ritual Games on Steam in 2018.
The very first thought I had when I started to play was the movie The Thing because it is set in a desolate research base surrounded by a blizzard. Dr. Alli Rose arrives on a vague mission to find out what has happened at the facility. Upon arrival no living human can be found only dead scientists, rabid dogs, zombie-like aliens (or are they alien-like zombies?), and machines.
Unsurprisingly, you start in room 1 and have to navigate your way to the final boss in room 50 armed with a laser gun. There are power-ups and key cards to discover in order to progress deeper into the facility. The power-ups are more than coincidently nearly identical to a Metroid game. One allows you to roll around in a ball, another to drop a bomb, a metal suit, and upgrades to the gun. All of the creative power-ups were left on the cutting room floor.
The one area I felt the game really hit the nail on the head was the background music. It is exactly how I would imagine creepy isolated in the frozen tundra fighting off creatures music should sound. The tone of the setting it set very well audibly.
I believe the creators intentionally left the plot vague to allow the player to fill in the blanks on their own, which I am not entirely a fan of. If I made a game with a plot (purely hypothetically) then I would not make it as vague as this because it comes off lazy or seemingly just a cop-out. After beating the final boss, just like a Metroid game, you are told you must escape by getting back the room 1. The music does not change and the facility is not falling apart so it does not convey a sense of urgency to flee. When I got all the way back to room 2 the door was locked with absolutely no hint or clue as what to do next to beat the game. I actually had to look up what to do and there were plenty of forums asking the same thing. The fact that there was no possible way of knowing what to do at that point no one would be able to beat the game unless they looked it up. I could not find anyone saying they figured it out on their own and how they figured out what to do. There is no problem with providing a challenge to a player, but when essential information to complete your game is hidden with no intuitive way to progress then the game has a SERIOUS problem.
Even after looking up the solution to getting the door open the ending was not even worth it. It was just a short cut scene to leave the player wondering about the plot more but to be honest, I was left wondering what the developers were thinking when making this broken promise of a game.
Paradox Soul was a true mixed bag from start to end. I did not enjoy it at first, the entire middle to near end game I enjoyed, and then the end I did not like. After researching about its 2017 Kickstarter campaign I was left unimpressed by the creators. The game is missing many features they previewed/promised in order to get funding and their lack of communication to their pledgers made them less likeable. Their funding page is still up so you can see the train wreck of a process it was for yourself. Overall, the game falls into a field of uncertainty in regards to recommending to gamers. On one hand it is only $4.99 (£4.99), but on the other hand it is very short. The Switch is crawling with superior Metroidvania-like games that deliver on what they set out to do. It is safe to pass on this one.
TBG Score: 4/10
Platform: Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PSVita, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 05/07/2019
No. of Players: 1
File Size: 57MB
Category: Action, Adventure
Developer: Ritual Games
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Download link: eShop