There’s trouble in Paradise – not just the phrase, either – the island of Paradise is quite literally in trouble. Paradise Killer is an open world murder mystery, developed by Kaizen Game Works and published by Fellow Traveller. I reviewed this on the Nintendo Switch, but it is also available on Steam for any of our PC gamers.
Paradise Island is the 24th Island Sequence, and the residents of the island are ready to move onto “Perfect 25,” the next island. Citizens are gone, the Syndicate have nearly finished all preparations, when the unimaginable happens: The Council is murdered. “Investigation Freak,” Lady Love Dies, is removed from exile to come to Paradise Island to investigate the cause of the mass murder. With Starlight, an assistant computer to the investigator, by her side, Lady Love Dies departs on a free form adventure to flip over every secret the island hinds, and breathe life back into Paradise.
The brutal killing spree throws players directly into the first-person mix with a vague amount of backstory given. Immediately after stepping off the edge of your exile tower, falling hundreds of feet onto the Paradise Gates, you learn that fall damage doesn’t exist, as the island is meant not to hurt the Syndicate.
Along with the lack of fall damage, a double jump feature and a “meditate” feature can also be unlocked throughout the game. The double jump is self-explanatory, but the “meditate” feature is an absolute game-changer – upon use, the player is able to look around for any collectibles, such as Blood Crystals (the currency of the Syndicate) or any miscellaneous relics. Trust me, pick up everything you find. It may seem insignificant, but you never know what will come in handy later.
The mysteries needed to be uncovered won’t expose themself. It is up to Lady Love Dies to search every building, every hidden corner, speak to everybody in order to uncover the truth. Upon speaking to somebody, you can choose to “Hang Out,” which helps level up your relationship with that particular character, or you can choose to interrogate them.
As secrets are traded and truths are brought to the light, more cases are uncovered that need solving, all tied in relation to the main massacre. When I first saw this trailer, I seriously underestimated it; however, the absolute depth behind all characters, possible motives, and backstory truly shows its head. I was immediately hooked, and I played through it entirely in two days. The ending was left open, so even if you’re entirely confident in your truths, the game will never tell you outright if you were correct, or had you missed a piece of incriminating evidence somewhere. This was definitely part of the addicting charm though, leading me to spend nearly thirty hours exploring every single building, nook, and cranny.
Oh, and quick note: The soundtrack. Boy oh boy, is this one a banger. Some tracks lean more on a jazz side, some are heavier with the synth playing with the futuristic aesthetic. Collecting all the different tapes that could be played on Starlight began a mission for me all in itself.
In all absolute honesty, there is very little to say for cons. The first thing would be some minor spellchecking mistakes throughout the dialogue. I know this may seem nitpicky to some, but as someone who writes content daily, this is something that drives me a bit crazy. Again, not a huge deal, just something to note.
The second thing would be the lack of a compass. The island is surprisingly massive, and there were countless times I would be exploring an area, and would get lost trying to find my way to another zone. Figuring how high-tech this reality is, I feel like a simple compass as one of Starlight’s many helpful features would’ve been a huge bonus. Nonetheless, I prevailed.
Overall, this vaporwave investigative game was absolutely mindblowing. Any gamer who doesn’t mind a bit of a heavy dialogue, paired with an unforgiving open world exploration, would love this just as much as I did. And let’s be honest, for a completely reasonable price of $19.99 on both Nintendo Switch and Steam, there’s no excuse not to try out this absolute gem.
Except for one small thing: Paradise Killer is rated mature, and definitely for good reason. There is a setting (alongside their impressive accessibility menu) to turn off mature content if you so choose, but swear words will only be censored. Just something to note!