The future promises so much. Advancements in technology we can’t fathom. An ability to influence genetics and biology. A better world for all. Unless you are Paradigm, and find yourself in a run down, retro hellscape. If that is the case, just sit back, rest you bulbous deformity on a pillow and drift off to sleep as you listen to a beat boxing eggplant.
Usually I follow a bit of a formula with these game previews. Give the basics of the game, talk about what it does, close out on whether you should pay attention to it. However, with Paradigm, I feel like I need to cut to the chase.
Go play the demo now. Right now. Here is the link. Leave this place, and enter a strange throwback eighties dysfunctional pseudo-future. You don’t even need to come back. Actually, maybe read this article while it is downloading. Yes, do that. Off you go.
Paradigm is a point-and-click adventure game, where you take control of the titular character to (what else) solve a whole bunch of puzzles. Going by the demo, Paradigm doesn’t shake up the classic formula any. You wander around, talk to characters, pick up stuff, and generally bumble your way through each challenge. Sounds par-for-the-course, right?
What I like about Paradigm is that it has an archaic, anarchic sense of self. The game appears to be chock full of disparate, almost unconnected, ideas and references. At a glance it could be mistaken for a 36-year-old’s fever dream of his past. Actually, let’s not rule out that possibility.
However, rather than Paradigm coming across as an eclectic mess, the whole thing just works. This is probably largely due to the hilarious introductory setup (I wish my parents had decided to give me a genetic disposition towards wizard), coupled with the character of Paradigm.
Paradigm himself is a stocky, lumpy-headed humanoid who seems to love writing techno music and being savagely alone. He talks with a drawn out, laconic Russian accent. I bet you didn’t even think that was possible. But he is no slouch, and has perfect diction. Impressive.
The best way I have found to describe the game as a whole is like this. Imagine The Secret of Monkey Island came from the minds of the guys who did Ren & Stimpy. At least for the demo, it’s an eye-popping, vibrant stream of consciousness experience which hits all the right puzzle and humour beats to make it last.
As with most demos, there are a couple of little stumbles and problems. But these are easily overlooked (if you even realise they are there). What is really interesting is that the developer obviously knows the visuals of the world are a real draw-card.
The demo gets to a point where it ‘ends’, Paradigm let’s you know this is so, but then the player is free to wander the three screens that they have discovered. It is a smart move which allows the player to finish up anything they were hoping to look at, while also providing a thin slice of the overall game. This is also a great indication that the developer has his head screwed on straight.
I already told you to go download the demo, but let’s just reiterate it. The demo is available for download, to play on PC, right now. It is developed by Jacob Janerka, and the full game is scheduled for release in January 2017. Pre-orders can be made on the website.