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  • Chad Myers

Game Review #353: Black Paradox (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: Fantastico Studio

Publisher: Digerati

Category: Arcade, Platformer, Action

Release Date: 5.2.2019

Price (at time of review): $14.99

Buy Black Paradox from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

80’s Glam Makes Everything Better

Everyone has their favorite things, from type of food to music, but one thing that’s always interested me is the love we have for certain time periods. It’s not shocking that so many people love the 80s. The music was cool, the clothes were crazy—and borderline absurd—and the movies were pure magic. I think that’s what we cling to more than anything from this decade, as it’s shown throughout the years in every facet of pop culture, all the way to our video games. Fantastico Studio has developed a new shmup that is coated, dipped, and fried for your enjoyment in pure 80s nostalgia. Let’s jump in and see if it’s only on the surface, or deeper and worth a buy.

Wanted: Dead or Dead...

The story is almost non-existent, but the premise is intact, and one I like a lot because it’s pretty badass. You’re a tough-as-nails bounty hunter who has to travel through the cosmos battling enemies left and right in a hell of bullet fire to track down a slew of baddies that are wanted and have a bounty on their heads. Your battle spaceship is a DeLorean plucked straight from the classic film Back to the Future, and your character looks to be pulling inspiration from the film The Wraith, as he has the motorcycle helmet on, just like the phantom character from the movie that hunts down his enemies.

You take to the stars of the galaxy, fighting through levels that always change with procedurally-generated enemies, so you never get too comfortable. There are tons of different-looking enemies, which was a huge plus, with some giving off nostalgic vibes, like the ships that looked like RV’s, which reminded me of the film Spaceballs. There are 62 different enemies, each with their own attack patterns.

Also, this is a rogue-lite, so if you die, no matter how far you are, that’s too bad, as you go straight to the beginning again; but you get to keep upgrades and loot obtained to keep upgrading your rig, though you can only have four upgrades on at a time, which is disappointing.

Killing enemies will have them drop health, and you can also can pick up different weapons and power-ups, of which there were a lot—20 weapons, 37 power-ups, 13 deadly drones, 8 amazing power-up combos, and the ultimate space-bending move: the "Black Paradox"—and switch them with a press of a button, going back n forth depending on the circumstances of what you need.

The rogue-lite element may be a turnoff to some, but even when the game goes full-on bullet-hell, I never found it to be so hard that I couldn’t handle it. The bosses range from a Master Blaster-looking duo, a dinosaur, to even a shadowy space cowboy; and there are 14 deadly bosses with unique attacks + 1 secret boss. I found them to be challenging, but never too hard. If I backed up the game and was patient, I always prevailed once I became comfortable with the controls.

Now, the only main detractor for me were the controls, as they didn’t feel super tight, and I’d even say it felt a little like I was gliding or floating, rather than ripping through space. After a while of playing, I became used to the controls enough to beat the game and had a lot of fun along the way. Being able to have a friend jump in to play local couch co-op was a blast; sometimes the screen got a litter cluttered, but that’s to be expected with this type of shoot ‘em up. You can also unlock an extra hardcore boss rush mode, which adds to the replay value.

Audio & Visuals

The synth-wave soundtrack is ripped straight from this amazing decade and could have come from a C-Movie from the 80s. I really enjoyed it. The pixel-art graphics fit right in with the game itself and the theme they’re going for. I loved the character designs, from the main protagonist to the very cool-looking bad guy bosses we face. I wish this was a mini-series or a movie.

It’s A Wrap!!!

If you’re not turned off by the rogue-lite element of the game, and you are willing to play for a bit to get the controls down, then you’re going to like Black Paradox a lot. If any of these things put you off, I’d still recommend grabbing it when you see it going on sale. It oozes 80s nostalgia to a pitch-perfect degree, from the call backs in movies, the great synth-wave soundtrack, and the neon-glowing purples and pinks. I enjoyed Black Paradox, and I think if you’re a fan of shmups, then you need this in your collection now.

Score: 7.5/10

Buy Black Paradox from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Digerati

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