Finding Paradise Review

Screenshot from Finding Paradise
Doctor Watts has some choice words to say about the patient as a youth

  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Freebird Games
  • Publisher: Freebird Games
  • Release Date: 14 December 2017
  • Time played: 4.8 hours

What is it

Freebird Games is a Canadian indie development studio that was formed in 2007. They've developed 6 games so far including the critically acclaimed To the Moon (which I've played but sadly forgot to review): released in 2011, the game was nominated for a Best Writing and Innovation Award at the Canadian Videogame Awards and currently holds a Metascore of 81% as well as a Metacritic User Rating of 8.9. On Steam, it's a similar story with an "Overwhelmingly Positive" rating due to 96% of the 30,804 reviews being positive. The game has been so successful that it's been ported to other platforms including the Nintendo Switch this year; apparently the game is even being made into an animated film.

Finding Paradise is the sequel to To the Moon and again follows the adventures of Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts, employees of the Sigmund Corporation which specialise in implanting happy memories in those who are terminally ill. In Finding Paradise, the two scientists have got their work cut out for them as not only are the patient Colin's memories jumbled up but his final request is ambiguous meaning Eva and Neil have two puzzles to solve.

Finding Paradise was critically acclaimed with a Metascore of 81 and Metacritic User Rating of 8.3. On Steam the game has an "Overwhelmingly Positive" rating based off 6,668 reviews.

How I got it

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart… (sorry, guess I can't use that joke again since I already did so in A Bird Story). Last Christmas, I purchased a bundle which included To the Moon, A Bird Story and Finding Paradise because I really enjoyed To the Moon and was keen to try out Kan Gao's other games. After completing A Bird Story recently it seemed only logical to continue with the To the Moon series.

Screenshot from Finding Paradise
Eva and Neil have a tough job on their hands

What I like:


Heart-warming and emotional story

Just like To the Moon and A Bird Story, Finding Paradise has another heart-warming story for you to enjoy as you learn more about Colin's wonderful friends and family, as well as the challenges and conundrums he faced during his life. I admit that some parts of the game got really emotional for me and I may have shed a tear or two, especially whenever the story explored Colin's incredibly lonely childhood (which is touched upon in A Bird Story).

Lovable Characters

Unlike many computer games, there aren't any real antagonists in Finding Paradise and despite every character having flaws, they're all lovable in their own way especially Eva, Neil, Colin, Sofia and Faye. Also, just as it was in To the Moon, Eva and Neil act as perfect foils to each other which creates several hilarious moments.

Pop-culture references

The game has several pop culture references in it such as "The Godfather", "Dragonball Z", "Street Fighter" and JRPGs in general.

Beautiful soundtrack

Kan Gao does it again in managing to not only compose a beautiful and emotional soundtrack but one that complements what's happening on the screen perfectly.

Addictive

I love a good mystery and learning more about Colin's life by piecing together his jumbled memories kept me coming back for more (despite my best intentions with going to bed on time).

Branching narrative

The game does offer some limited opportunities to make choices, like whether Eva or Neil resolves a dispute or whether you tell the truth or not about Colin's memories. I don't think they affect the ending in anyway but it at the very least results in a slightly different story each time you play.

Epilogue

I love a good epilogue and it's definitely got me excited about what Kan Gao has in store for us.

Steam Achievements and Trading Cards

The game has only one (very easy) Steam Achievement to earn (i.e. finishing the game) and has 6 Steam Trading Cards to collect.

Screenshot from Finding Paradise
The game does offer a few opportunities for you to change the narrative

What I dislike:


Poor Steam Integration

Somehow, I'm unable to take Steam screenshots despite playing the Steam version of this game. This might however be a general problem with games made in RPG Maker though.

Short

While not as short as some of the other games I've played in recent months, it takes about 4-5 hours to complete this game – which I actually think is the perfect amount of time but for those of you that judge game value by hours played, this is obviously lacking.

Score – 9/10 (Beautiful)

Finding Paradise is a heart-warming and emotional sequel to the critically acclaimed To the Moon with lovable characters, a beautiful soundtrack and a story that will keep you glued to your chair. Sure, the game might seem a bit short to some considering it can be completed in 4-5 hours, but there's really not much to fault about this game and with the epilogue hinting that there's another sequel in the works, I can hardly wait to see what Kan Gao has in store for us.

Is the game worth $14.50 AUD?: Yes, if you're a fan of Kan Gao's work or you're just looking for a quality, heart-warming RPG Maker adventure, it's worth it. If you think it's a bit much for 4-5 hours of entertainment though, it often goes on sale nowadays.

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[ LINK: Official Finding Paradise Website ]

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