It’s not often I get to take a look at pre-alpha builds of games, so it’s not really one of my strong suits to critique a game that’s so early in its development. But when I was given the opportunity to look at Paradise Killer, I was instantly intrigued by its weird aesthetic and its detective-driven mystery-solving gameplay. I felt like it would be an interesting puzzle to solve. With that in mind, I set out on the timed demo build to see how far I could get. The following write-up is based entirely on an early pre-release build of the game that could be subject to major changes.
Paradise Killer is a whodunit murder mystery game, set on a strange island inhabited by gods. There have been many iterations of the island. It is destroyed and remade. Each iteration of the island is closer to perfection, but on iteration 24, before the council could finish birthing the 25th and perfect island, they were murdered!
You play as Lady Love Dies, the top investigator for The Syndicate, who has been exiled from Paradise for over 3 million days for endangering Paradise. She is brought back to investigate the murder of the council who are in charge of rebirthing the island. The guards on the island have a suspect in custody, but you’ve been brought in to either confirm or deny his guilt. This premise sounds kind of confusing out of context, but it’s all well explained by the opening text of the game. You have to collect evidence and talk to all the residents of the island to come to a final conclusion about what happened to the Council.
While I was playing through the Paradise Killer demo, I did notice a lot of placeholder graphics. That was to be expected, considering how early a build it is. Character designs are pretty cool, and I hope they get elaborated upon, but for now, the placeholder images for the characters just look like JPEGSs that rotate when you try to walk around them. There’s a distinct 80’s theme at work in the world of the game, and it’s well-executed. The game was a little jittery while I was playing, but I marked that up to unoptimized files for an early build – I’m sure it’ll be ironed out.
The distinct 80’s vibe isn’t just in the visuals. The music is very 80’s in Paradise Killer. Gentle synth wave music accompanies you while you make your way around the island, and you can supposedly unlock more tracks as you progress. Other than that there are some very robotic voices that announce when you’ve picked up blood crystals.
I really can’t say much about the longevity of the final game, but the demo build I was provided with gave me about an hour of exploring and talking to people. From past experience with these kinds of games though, there won’t be much in the way of replayability, but depending on the price tag, it could be worth a play through.
There’s a long way to go before this game is good, but the premise of the story is interesting and as far as I know, unique. I’m a fan of murder mysteries and trying to figure out who actually did it. I’m gonna keep my eye on this one, to see how it develops… I feel compelled to find out WHODUNIT?!
Disclaimer: A preview build was received in order to write this article.