Paradise Killer is hoping to be the next big murder mystery VN by fusing it with free roam elements and quirky writing. Will it pay off or is it a straight to TV mystery? Read on to find out!.
Straight out of the gate you’ll notice Paradise Killer isn’t your standard VN affair, while it has the character and U.I look of titles like Persona and Danganrompa you’ll notice it has a particular writing style.
You’ll have a lot of technobabble thrown at you requiring that little extra effort to learn about what is going on and who the characters are. In the world’s smallest nutshell, you’re Lady Love Dies, you’re a detective who has been exiled from Paradise due to being fooled by Demons.
The Council who created said Paradise has been murdered as the 25th Paradise is to be created and it was going to be perfect. You’re brought out of exile to do what is in your blood and Detective your little heart out.
Throughout this tale, you’ll meet numerous questionable characters such as Lydia Love Day, Crimson Acid, Doctor Doom Jazz, and Witness to the End. Each character is as wacky as their names, brilliant written and just oozing in that “Kojima/Suda/Swery punk” aesthetic, if you’re familiar with the above names and writing style you’ll know what kind of Paradise you are in.
The main bulk of the game involves Lady Luck Dies investigating the cast, solving puzzles, and searching for items before she triggers the Court Case. You can trigger it at any time but you’ll be going in half-cocked if you haven’t been a good detective and done the footwork!.
The game presents the world as a totally free roam and gives you free control over it, rather than a small confined area or moving to areas with text boxes. This allows for a much greater level of immersion and even more hiding places for items. Throughout the world are Blood Crystals, these are the main form of currency for just about everything, fast travel, items, and even character stats such as double jumping allowing you reach even more areas to search for more of the Crystals and other key items to further your investigations.
You’ll find you spend an awful lot of time walking backward and forward around the giant world map trying to get to locations or people to speak as you have just finished a puzzle which has given you an item to further your investigations, it’s all a game of back and forth & I for one love it.
The map isn’t the best in terms of how it’s done, sure it shows you the area but it doesn’t show you which direction your heading or the roads you can take which often lends itself to a lot of getting lost until you’ve got the island memorized or drawn out on your own personal map.
There is a fast travel system in play here but honestly between my need to find more and more Blood Crystals so I could get further unlocks and learn more about the residents as I unearthed a plethora of crimes, I rarely used it, quite a shock for me as I’m usually an advocate for fast travel but I was totally immersed in the world and its characters.
Now graphically the game is brilliant, blends styles well and I do love the fact the characters are all 2D cutouts in the 3D world, something about it just works. The writing is cryptic, off the wall, and frankly speaks to my very soul, something I haven’t said about a game’s narrative in quite some time but I really really just want everyone to listen to the game’s soundtrack.
The soundtrack is guaranteed to have at least 1 track you just cannot stop listening to, from loading the game up initially I knew I had to have the soundtrack and now the sounds of Paradise Killer accompany me on any bus trip I have, any time I’m doing chores or whenever I just need some music playing. It is late enough in the year now where I can happily say, this game has the best OST of any game I have played in 2020 bar none.
Usually, I don’t play or review VN titles, they aren’t really my kind of thing, but I saw Paradise Killer and something told me this title was going to be different. I am more than happy to say that this is an amazing experience, narratively, visually, and aurally, my gaming life is actually enriched by playing this title and it is one that I would highly suggest anyone who wants something a little out there and unusual dip their toe into. Now if you don’t excuse me I got to make a few more laps around Paradise!.