Playtime: Like an hour

Paranautical Activity: It’s like a bad Newgrounds flash game

It’s been awhile since I’ve written one of these, and I’m currently snowed in… Despite living in southeast Texas. So I figured I would take the time to play some games I never really got around to… And maybe give a few games a second chance.

So I figured I would Paranautical Activity another go.

I uninstalled it about 20 minutes later.
If you’re like me you probably had never heard of Paranautical Activity until either, A: it made the rounds on YouTube for a short period of time; if you blinked you might have missed it. Or B: You heard about the lead dev threatening to kill Gabe Newell over incorrect branding on the front page of steam. What you probably never heard is that it’s a good game.

Now, I don’t have the playtime to get deep into the mechanics of the game, and I’m not going to waste my time on a game I don’t like. So this is coming from a complete novice. But I can’t think of a game I’ve bounced off of harder. I would rather play Broforce… And you know how I play about that steaming pile.

For starters, the movement in Paranautical Activity is strangely floaty and has a momentum to it that I wouldn’t expect from a game where you run around like you’re playing OG DOOM. There is something to the movement that just makes it feel bad… You don’t quite speed up like you would expect, and you don’t’ really stop where want to either. It’s like you’re moving through water at all times. I’m sure that if I was willing to put more time into this that I could probably get used to it. But I find the feeling to be very, very, off putting.

Like most rogue-likes there are multiple starting classes, each with their own stats and weapons. Sadly most of the starting weapons suck. You either have a high damage, slow shot speed crossbow that’s difficult to land a hit with. A grenade launcher with timed explosives. A close range sickle. Or a Shotgun. The only gun that felt good to me was the shotgun, sadly it’s also comes packaged with the slowest starting movement speed. Perhaps I’m just bad, but I found that it was nigh impossible to avoid the first floor boss’s attacks with “the tank”. Nothing feels better in a game than being too slow to move out of the way of an attack. If you couldn’t tell, that was sarcasm.

The slow ass movement and the unappealing weapons combined with the floaty movement is a recipe for disaster…

Perhaps if the game looked better I would be willing to give it more of a chance. But no, the art sucks too. Paranautical Activity has a voxel based artstyle, making it look like it was inspired by Minecraft… Which maybe in 2013 wasn’t done to death, but I’ve never liked the blocky look of these types of games, where everything looks like it was put together with legos…  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m willing to give this kind of art a pass if it does something interesting with it like say Paint the Town Red. Or 8-bit Armies. But this game really doesn’t do much. It has some nice colored lighting and a few interesting shaders, and that’s about it. Plus it’s almost like they knew the art wasn’t anything special so they made the game really dark to kind of hide it… But all it does is make enemies blend into the environment.

Now to continue beating a dead horse, the music is bad too. It feels straight out of a 2007 Newgrounds flash game. It has almost no thematic relation to the feel of the game, the beat is just a little too fast for the gameplay, and… Well it’s just bad techno….

I almost feel bad because I know people spent a lot of time making this. But it’s just bad. No, it’s awful. There is no redeeming quality to it. It’s a waste of time, money, and hard drive space.

I cannot recommend this game in any way, shape, or form. I think I got it in a humble bundle, and honestly even that’s not a great value. If this game truly interests you, well you probably already own it and have played it enough to not care what I think.

But on the off chance that you’re coming upon this before you actually buy it. Turn back. Abandon hope, all ye who play this game.

What do you think?

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