Series like the Secret of Monkey Island and Broken Sword dominated during the 90’s with critical and commercial success. But sadly the age of 2D point and click adventures died down all thanks to the genre unsuccessfully transiting onto 3D format. This was due to many gamers not unable to grasp the slow, inductive nature on a 3rd person perspective. This isn’t to say that the genre died out completely as over recent years many developers have taken it upon themselves to revive the classic format of the point and click adventure for a new gen of gamer.
Enter Paradigm, a quirky and colourful adventure game that focuses on completing lateral tasks while engaging in a compelling story that infuses drama and comedy. Paradigm is a sweet humanoid mutant who dreams of being a musical superstar. He lives in a place inhabited by traffic cone inspired superheroes, 3ft tall paranoid drug dealers, a sex crazed computer that speaks with an Australian accent and Doug, a mutated beat-boxing eggplant. Everything seems fine and dandy for Paradigm until one fateful day his beloved pc where he lays down fat beats is broken. To make matters worse the Power Station he lives in is set to cause a horrific meltdown, killing thousands and thus ruining his chance for international stardom.
What transcends next is a journey of self-discovery as Paradigm’s efforts to find a vital, lifesaving floppy disk (Wikipedia it for the younger readers) lands him in a bizarre conspiracy involving killer water dispensers, mutant children and sinister talking sloths. What you’ve just read is no joke and Paradigm is definitely a game which has fun with itself in terms of narrative and themes. Everything here works wonderfully well from the visuals to the dialectic to produce an engaging comedy. Paradigm is a likeable protagonist who spews some great commentary on the world around him while the situations are profound and enthralling.
There’s a range of colourful characters during this epic journey that act as various guides or just douche bags with another quest, yet nearly all of them had substance and great character. My personal favourite was Including John 3000, a sexually aggressive, talking computer that often criticises Paradigm’s lack of progression to save the world. Doug is another great supporting character that we don’t see often in the game has some fantastic scenes including an epic display of his beat-boxing skills. What makes Paradigm work so well is that each character feels and acts like uniquely with each having a distinct manner when they interact with Paradigm.
There were moment’s I cried with laughter with the presentation of a joke or just pacing of an awkward conversation with a complete weirdo you encounter. But amazingly the comedy also intervenes with certain aspects of the gameplay delivering moments of excellently scripted events. Playing segments which involve a “Streets of Rage” rip-off where instead of fighting, you pay compliments to your opponents and having to play a QTE to force a fake smile from Paradigm after he told a lie is pure gold.
At its core Paradigm is a humble point and click adventure where players will be introduced to a problem and have to resolve it to progress further. As this is a point and click adventure, your encouraged to collect various items, combing those items if needs be, finding out interesting information through dialogue exchanges with other characters or playing various mini games to be awarded a key item. There’s little actual combat in the game, yet there’s plenty of conflict for Paradigm to confront and an abundance of troubles that need to be dealt with.
Paradigm is simple in execution, never complicating matters on screen giving players the right tools and tips to complete their task. Often enough the simplest of solutions could be the right one. If I was to pull a complaint it would be that generally the lateral side of Paradigm can be a little too simplistic. Most puzzles don’t span off in great depths, giving players simple fetch quests and placing the right two key items together. While Paradigm might be easy for those, like me who’ve mastered Broken Sword and other classics in the 90’s it’s also a blessing to see why this kinder approach to gameplay could be beneficial.
I am not going to lie, there were times with Broken Sword that would melt my brain and infuriate me. Often the solutions to a lot of the problems in Broken Sword were overly complicated and the amount of discussing with NPCs could be a little tiresome, having to draw out conversation or lateral elements to tedious degrees. Paradigm knows where to stop a joke, where to conclude a puzzle and where to inject something dynamic to boost the pacing. This helps greatly to introduce an older style of genre to a younger audience yet still keep it vastly entertaining and captivating for the older fans such as me.
Paradigm is brilliant point and click adventure with terrific comedy elements that will get anyone to laugh, cry and love this surrealistic colourful world of mutants and mayhem. This is a gem that pays a wonderful homage to 90’s point and click adventures while focusing a greater angel on comedy, great characters and a journey that’ll grasp any gamer’s attention.
++ Fantastic sense of humour
+ Great characters and colourful gameworld
+ Great variation of gameplay styles
++ Easy to immerse into
- Some puzzles are a little too easy
A Steam code of Paradigm was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review