Code Avarice and Digerati bring you Paranautical Activity, a 3D roguelike FPS available now on Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Xbox One, PC, and now Wii U. The game was fully released to the public in 2014, following an early access beta on Steam and was brought over to consoles in late 2015.
There isn’t much here in terms of Paranauticl Activity‘s story. You exit an elevator and navigate a randomized dungeon fighting different enemies while picking up currency and power-ups to progress through the different floors of the dungeon. There are no real cutscenes, dialogue, or quests to tell you where you’re going or why you’re here. There are several different characters to choose from, and doing certain tasks like clearing a floor without taking damage can unlock further characters to play with. Each character does start with different stats and starting weapons, giving a slightly unique feel and playstyle to each character, also offering the only customization available early in the game.
In addition to the starting customized stats of each character, Paranautical Activity has players use bombs and weapons to clear rooms of enemies to find various power-ups, items, and special weapons that will help in the progressively difficult levels. You will encounter everything from towering demons, to vanishing ninjas, to giant marine life who try to blow you up from a distance. There are multiple floors to the game, with each floor having a randomized layout of different rooms including a guaranteed store and optional boss that will give you a powerup to use or to buy. Performing various tasks throughout the game such as collecting a certain amount of bombs or killing certain enemies will unlock new items and weapons for you to use throughout the game modes and will help things go more smoothly. If you are indeed good enough to clear the original game mode, you will unlock the other modes to play, Hardcore and Infinite. There are no checkpoints in the game, however, so my suggestion is to keep moving. If you somehow make it to the top floor and die to the boss there, you will lose all progress and go back to the very start. The graphics are almost 8-bit much like something you would find in an early Doom game or even in Minecraft and the soundtrack can wear on your ears very quickly
If you think Binding of Isaac was too easy, this might be the game for you. While most other roguelike games offer a top down view of the room, the FPS viewpoint puts you in the room itself and offers new and difficult challenges to overcome. With the addition of the new plane brings the added bullet drop and field of vision issues that don’t normally plague other games you may be used to. While you may be dodging rockets from a floating turtle above you, it is really easy to miss the land shark nipping at your ankles. It is also rather easy to lose enemies behind you when you are trying to strafe around the bosses, adding to the difficulty of each encounter. Some guns feel clunky to use, either taking a very long time to charge up or not doing much damage for the trouble of aiming up a proper headshot. The items you buy offer no description of what they do before you buy them, making each purchase from the store a gamble on the first couple of play-throughs especially since some of them can slow you down or offer other negative side effects which you may not like. Usually, you would like to have an option to side-step or roll in a game like this but there is only an option to jump (or double jump with the right item) to dodge projectiles, although that is pretty much all you need to do.
Paranautical Activity – The Verdict
Are you a masochist? Do you enjoy Dark Souls or other similar games? Then you will thoroughly enjoy Paranautical Activity. This is not the game for the easily frustrated, as there is a very sharp learning curve and there is no way to save any type of progress in the game. This may be a great game for you to try to learn in between queues of your favorite game, but since there is no real story to the game it may have to stay just that, a filler game for more hardcore gamers.
An intriguing game mainly for hardcore fans of roguelike games with a very steep learning curve and unforgiving gameplay.