Monday, February 10, 2014

3 days of...Paranautical Activity!

The Humble Rogue-like Bundle: Game 4

Paranautical Activity by Code Avarice is unlike any of the other rogue-likes in the package I picked up on the late humble bundle mostly because it's a First-Person shooter style action rogue-like. Most rogue-likes stick to the tried and true top down perspective. Paranautical Activity challenges this standard by giving you a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action game with 8-bit inspired graphics. This new perspective seems like a good way to bend the genre a bit and allow for fresh ideas to spawn, and I commend Code Avarice for trying something new. 

Demons with guns abound in Paranautical Activity. Scary!
I began realizing some ways in that they are losing a majority of their audience with their unusual take on dungeon-crawlers. It is still in development early-access on Steam, so hopefully they find a way to attract both FPS action fans and Rogue-like players. Playing it right now, it's a good idea with good mechanics, but there's just something that it needs to push it over the edge to greatness.

The game itself gives you a fast way in, allowing you to chose from several characters with different guns, run speeds, health and alternate weapons. After you chose you are immediately dropped into a cell-based maze with differing rooms culminating in a boss room that will eventually take you to the next floor. There are shops, mini-bosses, and just mob rooms. Everything that makes up a fun rogue-like is here so you won't be missing anything. When you die you can reset and play again just as fast, tempting you with the "Just one more round" mentality.

The shooting mechanics are well thought out and most characters move fast enough to dodge well. It takes some getting used to but the First-Person idea pans out well enough to work in combat. Jumping is essential to moving around the maps and avoiding damage. It also happens to be very fun. Your speed increases ever so slightly it feels when you jump, giving you a sense of flying around rooms, dodging your enemies in midair cleverly. There also happens to be a boss early on that gives you double-jump, making moving around doubly fun. 

The Trident is a one shot power weapon, difficult to aim
as I'm dying to this demon moth.
The aesthetic of the levels is pretty bland for now. Not abysmal, it certainly serves the function but there's nothing special about the arenas you fight in. For example every boss I fought had an empty room to himself with no obstacles save the enemies you fight. this feels like a missed opportunity to give the boss a different room and thus different fight each time you enter. The music is good, a digital electro-track with heavy drums. It serves the purpose of raising your heart rate as you jump around bland darkish rooms but it looses its touch after a while and becomes a bit repetitive. Changing up the aesthetic of the rooms and the music a bit would make this an entirely different game and hopefully the developers change these things up a bit.

Paranautical Activity contains a great idea that hasn't quite panned out enough to bring a wide audience to it. It certainly has it's moments and it's tense combat is more thrilling that most other games I've played recently. It is still under development granted, and I certainly like the direction it is going. Hopefully some of the issues are fleshed out before release and it takes off, because the combat certainly was fun and I see some great potential here.

You'll like this game if: You like FPS and Rogue-likes, and want to see the two combined with fast paced action and techno music. Even if this sounds remotely like a combination you would enjoy, I recommend following it's development on Steam.

(If you had a different opinion or a new video game to suggest, leave a comment below!)

No comments:

Post a Comment