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Paradise Killer review for Nintendo Switch, PC


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Fellow Traveller
Developer: Kaizen Game Works
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

Paradise Killer is easily one of the most stylish games I’ve ever played. Everything about it oozes cool: the graphics, the music, the characters, even the story.

But here’s my problem: I hate it.

I realize this is kind of irrational of me. As I just said, the game undeniably has style. The thing is, though, because it’s so incredibly focused on being stylish, enjoying it means liking that style. And to be totally honest, it kind of nauseates me. I find the graphics garish, to the point I feel like my eyeballs are being assaulted. The characters, too, are so over the top in their looks that I find it kind of repulsive — and it doesn’t help that what little voice acting there is in this game is obnoxious little snippets. And the music…I don’t know, most of the time I have no issue with icy synths, but here, coupled with everything else, I find it more grating than anything else. (And to that last point, I don’t mind the Paradise Killer soundtrack when I hear it independent of the game, so I think it’s entirely the game’s visual aesthetics that rub me the wrong way, and the music is just collateral damage.)

The weird thing is, it’s not like there aren’t plenty of other games that have a similar look. Between the stylized characters and the gaudy colours, it’s not hard to see hints of Suda51 and the Danganronpa series, the latter of which I’m a huge fan. And yet, packaged like this, it literally made me feel kind of ill.

To some extent, this may be the point of Paradise Killer. The game is set in some alternate dimension on the verge of collapse, where demons have corrupted everything to the point that the dimension’s inhabitants are dying off and being reborn in their next, more perfect dimension. There’s a sense of rot and decay just beneath the surface, and the main character — Lady Love Dies — is there to solve a murder mystery and allow the end of the world to come about. So in that sense, the whole last days/hangover feeling may be entirely intentional.

Beneath all the ugly/stylish trappings, you have an open-world mystery game, where you have to search for clues, question suspects, and figure out whodunnit. In that sense, the game is fairly rewarding, and it even challenges you in a way that most other games of this ilk don’t, in that it leaves the “who” of the whodunnit up to you, and makes it clear that the decision of who to convict is in your hands. Given how frequently most mystery games only offer one path to a solution, it’s intriguing to see a game that takes such an open-ended approach.

But as far as I’m concerned, it’s a great idea wrapped in a nauseating package. No judgment if Paradise Killer’s hyperstylish aesthetic appeals to you, but I’m going to have to pass on this one.

Fellow Traveller provided us with a Paradise Killer Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B