So Paranautical Activity is a game that harkens back to the old school days of Quake and Hexxen and tries to mix that in with some Minecraft-esque graphics and with an element of rougue-like for variety. That’s a lot of things mixed into one package ain't it? And you may be wondering if that’s all a good mixture or not, well let’s keep this review going shall we?
So before I get into this review I want to touch on something that has been in the back of my mind about this game, I KNEW I had heard of it before and I knew it was shrouded in some controversy as well and lo and behold I was right! When the game was still within Steam’s Early Access program, one of Code Avarice’s developers Mike Maulbeck misguidedly took to social media to vent his frustrations. One of those misguided decisions was to post a death threat directed at Valve co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell, due to this incident; Valve ended up pulling the game from sale entirely. With Valve refusing to alter their stance, Code Avarice sold the IP or intellectual property and game code to Digerati thus allowing it to return to Steam and other consoles with it, whether or not that’s a good thing or not………well keep reading.
So we got the backstory of how the game came to be so then whats the plot of the game you may ask? Well…..there isn’t one. The game literally drops you into the middle of the game after you pick your loadout and that’s just about it for your plot lead reasoning to be here.
There are three modes to tackle – Classic, Hardcore, and Infinite – although only Classic is initially available to you. Decision made, players can then choose between four different weapon loadouts – David Bowie, Dy-no-mite!, Gorton, and The Tank – presenting grenade launchers, sickles, crossbows, and cannons as the necessary tools to fend for your survival. These loadouts have speed, damage, fire rate, and health parameters attributed to each of them, which allows for some gameplay variance even if it is more likely that players will stick to one over the other.
Now for a game that looks as simple as this does you’d think that there couldn’t be any possibility of slowdown right? Well……as the player moves between rooms the procedural generation of the rooms halts the gameplay to generate a new layout and this in turn sees the game repeatedly stutter whenever you wander through a new doorway, which is an issue for a game that promises “impossibly fast gameplay.” Repetition is soon to become your friend in this game as you’ll probably have it set in about right after the first room and sadly that disappointment is further compounded by the fact that the “ridiculous bosses” that the developer boasts of are stupidly imbalanced, with the player all but required to continually strafe in wide circles to avoid damage. Even in that, those evasive maneuvers aren’t any guarantee for success as the bosses will be regularly cutting your limited health down over and over despite your best efforts.
In all honesty, its these elements of pandering that lead to a more prevalent issue in that Paranautical Activity which is that it just simply isn’t as fun, and it definitely isn’t fun in any way shape or form at all as what the developer deems it to be. The game’s supposed maniacal world is just incredibly bland, uninspired, and over all unintriguing to explore, the gunplay is sadly simplistic and what makes this worse is you never know when you’ve hit your enemy as there is no reaction or indication that you have damaged your enemy.
This game is unable to be saved by the additional Hardcore and Infinite modes which add little more than the illusion of “choice” and as well as the plethora of unlocks that try to differentiate the time that you spend with the game with new bosses, weapons and items. But even they can’t save this game.
I’ve never played a game that I’ve had to review that’s ever been this bad and whats more is its not even Digerati’s fault as to why this game is so bad. Digerati has put our some amazing games, this however, is just not one of them and with that being said I cant recommend this game to anyone. If you have 8$ to spare for this game then I’m going to say that you should honestly just save that money and get something from McDonalds $ menu.
I give Paranautical Activity a rating of :