Paradise Killer is weird. It’s the first thing I realized about the game, so it’s the first thing I’m telling you. That doesn’t necessarily make it good or bad, but it does affect how the game feels and looks to someone. And combining that weirdness with the concept of a murder mystery can lead to some interesting things. As I played Paradise Killer, I did find myself intrigued by the mystery side of things, but the weird lens it puts over everything was, spoiler alert, not for me. It might be just right for you, though.
It becomes clear that this game has its own style and mindset simply by looking at the center of any good murder mystery: the characters. Their names alone make it sound like the writer was having a stroke: Lady Love Dies, Sam Day Break, Dr. Doom Jazz, Kafka Memory…the list goes on. That being said, the characters were interesting and memorable. Doom Jazz might be my favorite; he’s a legitimate doctor, but neither that nor the pressing matters at hand stop him from being immediately flirty. Shinji is another one: this demon helps you through parts of the game, talking fast and sounding like a real person who just doesn’t give a crap. I can’t say the same for the setting, though. I can’t even describe it in much detail, since I don’t fully get it myself. It’s an island that keeps getting remade to…save humanity or something? Honestly, it’s pretty hard to relate to.
That’s probably the biggest issue I have with Paradise Killer, actually. The world is so out-there that I can’t really relate to the setting or the characters. And when I can’t relate, I don’t feel as driven to solve the mystery. The mechanics are fine once you get used to them, and gathering clues makes sense. It’s very easy to keep track of things, too, which is to the game’s benefit. I’m glad that Paradise Killer doesn’t follow the trend of making it unclear what the player is supposed to do as a cheap way to make it seem harder. But I never even figured out who the killer was, because I just didn’t care enough. And all of the mechanical polish in the world can’t change that.
I’m not saying a murder mystery has to be realistic, but I think Paradise Killer’s world is just a few steps too far from reality for me to get sucked in. If you’re willing to really take the time to understand what’s going on, though, it might be for you. I can definitely see Paradise Killer getting big in some circles; in fact, it might have already done so. I recommend this game to people who like things that are a little out there, and don’t have to relate to characters to get into the intrigue of a mystery.
Not my paradise
‘+ Unique art style
+ Simple but effective mechanics
– Confusing setup
– Nothing groundbreaking