|Ain't that the truth.
- Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
- Developer: Jacob Janerka
- Publisher: Jacob Janerka
- Release Date: 5 April 2017
- Time played: 6 hours
Back in 2014, I received the heads-up from my brother about a new point 'n' click adventure Kickstarter called Paradigm. The game was developed by a chap named Jacob Janerka here in Perth, Western Australia and since Perth is such a small place, I probably know the guy through 2 degrees of separation (okay, I checked by Facebook stalking and it's actually 3 degrees of separation, so I was close. Sorry if I'm creeping you out Mr Janerka). Anyway, I thought it was really choice that someone in my hometown was developing a computer game and a point 'n' click adventure at that – I just had to be a part of it. So, I backed the project along with 1,386 other backers raising a total of $36,557. Apparently, the game was already finished (more or less) but Jacob required the remaining funds to do things like hire Swedish composer Jonas Kjellberg to do the music and hire voice actors.
The game was scheduled for release in July 2015, but it kind of overshot that target by almost two years. Not that it's a problem for me, I have a huge backlog of games to play so the later the better! At least the game did finally release which is more than can be said of some other crowdfunded projects (I'm looking at you Star Citizen, Hero-U, SpaceVenture, ... well a whole bunch of other Kickstarters to be honest). Like I said, not that I'm bitter! I'm sure Chris Roberts, the Coles and the Guys from Andromeda all have their reasons 😊.
Paradigm was released early last month – only a few days before that, Terrible Toybox's Thimbleweed Park was released and around mid-April, Full Throttle Remastered; so you can see that it's been a good time for point 'n' click adventures these past couple of months but this also means the playing of Paradigm was delayed thanks to the relative deluge of point 'n' click adventures. No matter. The game is complete now and here is my review.
So besides being a point 'n' click adventure, what exactly is Paradigm? Well the game is set in a post-apocalyptic fictional Soviet state called Krusz. A company called Dupa Genetics exerts its authority over the area and are a company that develops “Prodigy Children" which are basically designer babies. You play the role of a mutant or failed Prodigy Child called Paradigm whose goal in life is to record “phat beatsies" but a chain of events transpires that takes him further and further away from his rather mundane motivations and eventually the fate of the world is at stake.
What I like:
Decent lengthThe game took me about 6 hours to complete which is a moderate amount of time for a point 'n' click adventure.
Retro soundtrackJonas Kjellberg has done a splendid job with the soundtrack and it complements the game very well; it feels like you're in an 80s PSA or sci-fi show like “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".
Unique worldThe world is really weird. There aren't really any words to describe it that can do it justice. I don't think even Tim Schafer could've dreamed this up, and that's a compliment.
Pop culture references galoreThere are so many pop culture references in here and some of them are hilarious. Nothing is left untouched: the 80s, the Internet, point 'n' click adventures, Diablo, Clippy, Windows 95 – you name it, it's in here.
STRAYAThe game is made in Australia so you can feel a bit of patriotic pride if you buy this game 😊. There's also a bogan computer in the game called “John 3000" who talks about Australia in a very Australian way – i.e. with self-deprecating humour.
Right level of difficultyAnd you can alter it. I was playing the game on medium in terms of difficulty level and it's probably a bit easy for adventure gaming veterans (usually the items you need to solve a puzzle are quite obvious as mundane items really stand out in a surreal adventure) however the game could be a bit challenging for newbies to the genre (just as well there's an easy/casual difficulty mode then, right?).
Grotesque yet beautiful at the same timeJacob is a really good artist and it shows – just too bad that many of the subjects tend to be grotesque, malformed mutants from a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Lots of dialogueThe game impressed me with the number of unique snippets of dialogue it had. Usually in point 'n' click adventures you'd have some generic phrase or audio clip that plays whenever you interact with an object that is not crucial to the plot – for example, Ben in Full Throttle often says “I'm not putting my lips on that" each time you try to use his lips on 90% of the objects you come across. In Paradigm, it seems like there's a unique piece of text/dialogue for each object you interact with – now that's dedication.
Steam Trading Cards and AchievementsThe game has Steam Trading Cards and Achievements and they're not Telltale's super easy kind of achievements where simply progressing through the game will reward you with 100% of achievements.
What I dislike:
Juvenile humourThere is a bit of juvenile humour in this game; not as much, or as crude as the humour in Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure but it's still there and it was slightly off-putting when I first started playing the game.
Variable quality in voice actingI know Jacob managed to get some experienced voice actors (even Fryda Wolff who plays Sara Ryder in Mass Effect: Andromeda!) and a favourite of mine is Adrian Vaughan who voices “Not a Drug Dealer" (and I'm not even sure if he's actually one of the aforementioned experienced voice actors) – however, sometimes the voice acting falls flat.
TyposI noticed some typos and spelling errors in the subtitles. A minor nit-pick but there you have it.
EndingI liked the fact there was a happy ending of sorts but it also felt like the game ended abruptly.
Score – 8/10 (Pretty Good)A point 'n' click adventure developed in Perth, Western Australia by pretty much one guy with some help from a Swedish composer for the music. Surreal, a bit juvenile at times, but funny most of the time with plenty of pop culture references to the 80s, 90s and now. Just the right difficulty for me (a veteran adventure gamer who isn't actually that good at adventure games) and an indie game that definitely punches above its own weight. A bit like Thimbleweed Park except even more surreal and set in a post-apocalyptic, retro-futuristic Soviet wasteland.
Is the game worth $14.99 USD?: Yes. That's just over $20 AUD and despite such a small team developing this game, the game doesn't feel like a budget title. Worth the money.
If you like this game, you might like...
- Day of the Tentacle Remastered (2016)
- Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure (2016)
- Thimbleweed Park (2017)
[ LINK: Official Paradigm Website ]