Paratopic review for Xbox One, Switch

Platform: Xbox One
Also on: PC, Switch
Publisher: Baltoro Games
Developer: Arbitrary Metric
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Someone at Baltoro Games must really love idiosyncratic PS1-era games. Earlier this year they released Fatum Betula, which was an utterly bizarre piece of PS1-tinged weirdness. Now they?re back with Paratopic, and, while it?s a little more straightforward than Fatum Betula, it?s still stranger than most games you?ll come across.

What Paratopic has going for it in terms of being more comprehensible is that there?s a vague outline of a plot. I wouldn?t be able to tell you beat-by-beat how the story unfolds, but I can tell you it involves video tapes, and black, human-shaped monsters, and people?s heads exploding. It?s all told via lengthy scenes that cut away at random moments, making it hard to ever fully get your bearings ? which, I think, is kind of the point.

While I can?t say that the story pulled me in, I?ll still give Paratopic credit for its creepy aesthetic. On top of its blocky, PS1-style graphics, it also has a deeply unsettling score that does its best to keep you constantly on edge. Combine those two things together ? the score and the visuals ? and you have the beginnings of a very good horror game.

But unless you really enjoy half-finished stories, Paratopic never really builds on its great aesthetic to be a game worth playing. It may aspire to bring you back to the late ?90s, but given how disjointed it all feels, it never achieves its goal.

Baltoro Games provided us with a Paratopic Xbox One code for review purposes.

Grade: C