Sunday, 13 September 2020

Asylum Reviews: Paradise Killer [Switch].

UK-based indie games developer Kaizen Game Works launched Paradise Killer, an open-world crime investigation game just over a week ago on September 4th. We were lucky enough to receive a review code from them the day before launch and I have played it almost non-stop since (with the exception of work, and our daughter hogging the Switch for a bit!).

Paradise Island is run by The Syndicate, an elite group dedicated to pleasing the Gods. Each time an island is tainted by the demonic forces that they desperately try to repel, it is destroyed and a new Island Sequence is generated. The top Council members have been murdered, and Island 24 has been set for destruction - but before everyone can move to “Perfect 25”, the crime must be solved. You play as Lady Love Dies, a detective that has been in exile since the 13th island sequence (after an unfortunate mishap with a God led to demonic corruption), brought back for her superior investigation skills.

Henry Division, a Citizen of the island, is being held in the Desolation Cell under suspicion of the murders. It’s up to you to interview everyone on the island and scour for any clues to get to the bottom of what really happened to the Council members. Starting off, I already had suspicions of who I thought was the guilty party but this quickly changes (and changes repeatedly) the more you uncover. At any time, you may return to Judge to make your decision whether you have found all the information or not. I was in two minds about making a snapshot decision, as I liked the idea of just going for my original gut instinct but was worried that this would somehow ruin the story for my “full” play through.

I decided to just go for the full investigation off the bat, hunting down every single clue and interviewing every suspect until there was nothing left to ask and raising our Hang Out options to Max Level. Dotted all around the island are small “mysteries”, including Blood Crystals (the island’s currency), clues and bottles of Whisky that initiate small flash-forwards of Island Sequence 25 - two unknown people drinking in a bar and lamenting over what happened on 24. I refrained from spending my Blood Crystals too much to begin with, as these are required to purchase drinks from the Vending Machines located around the island - which it states will unlock an additional upgrade for Starlight, your laptop device that can help to unlock secret areas.

As it turned out, I didn’t need to be quite so protective of my Crystals. As time went on, and I’d bought every drink available and had used all of the Blood Letting Shrines and Foot Baths, I realised I still had plenty of Crystals left. Those were two things I’d initially put off: Blood Letting seemed like it was a trick to get my blood to somehow have me involved - definitely overthinking on that one, and the Foot Baths seemed like an optional extra, but for 5 Blood Crystals!? Pfft. No chance. Until I tried one and unlocked the ability to meditate, which gives mysteries a small glowing heart temporarily to help you track them down, and I kicked myself for waiting so long! Even by the end of my play through, I had 33 Blood Crystals left over, so you definitely don’t need to ration them too much if you’re planning on hunting them all down anyway.

The mysteries that unravelled kept me thoroughly interested, and the more I found out the more I wanted to keep digging. New information would frequently mean more lines of questioning for many of the suspects, and this would often lead to my suspicion flip-flopping between multiple characters at once. A little blue demon known as Shinji can be found all around the island, giving tidbits of information at times and just talking complete sh*t at others. All of the characters have diverse personalities and it’s really interesting getting to know each of them (even if some of them totally rub you up the wrong way). I even successfully bedded two of the suspects, so let’s just say I’m not the most professional of detectives out there...

The art style is gorgeous and the sound design is fantastically done, with a brilliant soundtrack done by Barry “Epoch” Topping, a fellow Scot - and voice of the character Doctor Doom Jazz. There are a whole bunch of tracks to be found around the island, which gives you more variety in what you’ll listen to, but I genuinely don’t think I came across a single one I wasn’t keen on. If a Vinyl Soundtrack gets released for this, I’ll definitely be down for a copy!

I took sooo many screenshots whilst playing Paradise Killer - the colours are beautiful and there’s just so much that felt worthy of a quick screenshot. The island, created by the Architect Carmelina is filled with massive sprawling architecture with hidden areas and secrets to uncover. A lot of things may be hidden behind locked fences, but jumping over and, once you unlock your Air Dash, dashing does the job to allow you to finagle your way into new clues.

Once I’d found every clue - no more little hearts visible after meditating - and exhausted the interviewing options of the suspects, it was time to make my decision. There are a few different things up for decision at trial, and your decision(s) are final. Whomever you deem guilty will be executed, so you need to be sure with your choices. In the end, I convicted five suspects and sentenced four of them to immediate execution (with one of the five already having died prior to the trial). I feel confident in my choices, especially as due to the overwhelming amounts of evidence I had, different suspects were all confessing and dragging others down with them in court. Such a fine thing to see!

I am genuinely gutted that I have now completed Paradise Killer, as I had such a great time with it. I was absolutely hooked from beginning to end, and can’t wait to see what Kaizen Game Works does next. Any more games like Paradise Killer and I will be a happy bunny.

In the end we decided to give Paradise Killer the Collecting Asylum rating of 9/10.

Have you played Paradise Killer yet? What did you think of it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Thanks to EvolvePR for the Paradise Killer Switch Review Code!

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