Released in late 2018 by Arbitrary Metric, Paratopic is an extremely well crafted indie psychological horror game, that took everyone by surprise.
In an unconventional way, Paratopic is an atmospheric adventure, one set to dislocate you from your safety, into the underground minds of a corrupted dystopian! Our protagonist has an undesired job, yet needed, to fill a certain agenda, one that feeds upon human innocence, and guilt alike.
Forces of unknown nature have found a way to feast upon human flesh, to expose their inner self, and its consciousness. Snuff tapes are running across the underground market, the ultimate drug, although experimental, its effects are devastating. Those who crave a large hole to bury their secrets have it worse, while the innocent, bloom and feel closer to God. Your job is to pick up a cargo of tapes, but in this twisted, morbid world, your vision sometimes is a little too much distorted!
Understanding Paratopic is carefully paying attention to every detail, or just let it go and absorb as much as you feel. I, personally, while playing, kept thinking about David Lynch movies and specific scenes from them, but other titles came to my mind such as John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns and The X-Files. It’s clearly the perfect art to inspire this game, and if you absolutely love the titles mentioned, you’ll have a blast with Paratopic.
The dialogues are genuine, original and although there isn’t much of a narrative, it’s interesting to hear the dialogues, since the voices were recorded and distorted, but if you pay very close attention, it’s still possible to distinguish voices, that intend to echo more as they feel, rather what they mean.
Alongside the adventure, a couple of NPC’s will interact, and players can choose what dialogue options to select. This adds essential content for the knowledge of the world, other than changes in the routes, however, automatically makes you feel much more connected with the main character while playing.
Such as in concept, the gameplay also delivers a simple methodical experience, nothing in it feels natural, yet, not entirely incorrect either. Traversing the mysterious woods, with blazing wind along the trees, or driving through the dark highway, with the light posts brightening up the road ahead may be a fantastic experience, or, a complete boring one if you don’t have the mindset for it.
As visuals go, the art directions are… interesting, and experimental just like everything else. There’s a retro vibe, but also a very unique solid feeling about it, and how shades become fused within the world’s imagination. There’s an artistic work of corrosion, that by some reason, entwines beautifully with the living tissue… Then again, it just might be my imagination!
Paratopic wasn’t nominated and winner of the Excellence in Audio from the 2019 Independent Games Festival without a proper reason. The whole soundtrack is amazingly integrated with the gameplay, with a really good music creation. The soundtrack can be purchased separately as DLC, and deliver over a dozen of very unique sounds, both ambient and synthesized, in which sound really good!
Paratopic might be short, but has quite the replayability, although it doesn’t unlock anything. It feeds your curiosity the means to explore the small but important details of this world. The story is not over yet, and the developers are currently working on the possibilities to bring a sequel to life.