Paratopic is a freaky, funky, disturbing experience that does scary justice to the premise made famous in games like Thirty Flights of Loving, and as of today, it’s available on Steam. It uses jump cuts, disturbing, muddy visuals, and wild pace changes to tell its harrowing tale, which I enjoyed so much during a few days home sick from work last spring:
Paratopic is an indie horror game that looks like it came out on a corrupted (or maybe possessed) Playstation 1, but it sounds and feels like a waking nightmare. I’ve been meaning to play it for over a month now, but it’s only this week, where I’ve been sick in bed, that I’ve had a chance to experience it’s unsettling pleasures. That worked out pretty perfectly.
Paratopic brilliantly plays on horror imagery and freaky sound design to put you inside of a nightmare place. You explore worlds—and accomplish your mysterious objectives—in places hewn together by jagged, low-res 3D textures and clashing color schemes. There are dingy apartments. Haunted open roads. A narrative that sees you transporting illicit, precious cargo across time and space. The whole thing feels haunted and uncomfortable, as you travel its landscapes, which smash cut you from place to place with abandon.
I think I’ve actually grown even fonder of the game in the months past (which is often how I gauge how effective a piece of horror is: how well it sticks in my brain.) There’s something really masterful in how it interplays the sinister elements—an assassination, an illicit video tape/mutation sequence, a murder in the woods—with the calm and mundane. It’s a short experience, but condensed, and the pace changes and tonal swings only serve to make it stronger.