Paradigm - a truly commendable point-and-click puzzler
Paradigm (PC) 9/10
With roguelikes dominating the indie game market, Zelda breaking new group with yet another instalment in its venerable series and Banjo-Kazooie seeing a long-awaited sequel, it seems that video gaming might actually come full circle. Bearing this in mind, is anyone really that surprised that point-n-click games are making a comeback? Game developers are slowly but surely rolling out some brand new takes on the tried and tested formula that will be immediately familiar to any 90's and early 00's gamers.
Paradigm is as traditional a point-and-click that you will have played in a while, with a design, structure and sense of humour that wouldn't have felt out of place in the genre's heyday. Where Paradigm differs from the serious themes of the games that it takes its cues from is in its comedy. In the worlds of adventure games where obtuse logic puzzles and deliberate obfuscation can take a heavy mental toll, it is a very welcome surprise that there are bucketloads of genuine laughs to be had from start to finish.
Set in the fictionalised post-apocalyptic Eastern European country of Krusz, Paradigm sets you in the role of the game's protagonist; a mutant who was created as a result of the failure of DUPA Genetics' - a company that produces prodigious children for their wealthy benefactors - biological engineering process. Paradigm is an electronic music artist - one who aspires to become the greatest that the world has ever seen, and throughout the game, his primary motive is simply to finish his latest EP. Unfortunately, various circumstances, as well as the tyrannical, yet insecure, candy-vomiting sloth who is currently in control of DUPA Generics, all strive to conspire against him, forcing him in to the role of the world's unlikely saviour.
Outside of the surreal premise and mind-bending puzzling, one thing that truly stuck out for me is the brilliant art direction and sound design. Paradigm's setting isn't nearly as abstract as the story and characters that it contains. Abandoned factories and overgrown urban settings are home to large computer mainframes, tape reels and space-age furniture that suggest an oppressive dictatorship in a world similar but vastly different to our own.
While a lot of the puzzles in Paradigm are undeniably weird, they are not so hard as to leave you tearing your hair out. I would always be cautious about recommending point-and-click puzzlers to people, for fear of scaring them away from the genre forever, but Paradigm is one that I can recommend with a clear conscience. This is a truly wonderful game.