Finding Paradise PC Review

A brilliant mixture of wonderful music and touching narrative make Finding Paradise a worthy entry in the series that began with To The Moon.

By Woozie, Posted 17 Dec 2017

By the time I had reached its conclusion, To The Moon had me in tears. From its musical theme, to the way it handled its subject matter through powerful writing, perfectly knitting together a story that was personal, emotional and very relatable, it was an amazing narrative-driven experience. Finding Paradise is the second episode in what is now a series which continues to follow Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts as they aim to fulfill their bedridden patients’ final wishes. As employees of Sigmund Corp, they can use technology to get inside a person’s mind and re-wire memories so that prior to death, they’ll remember life as they wanted it.

Finding Paradise, Screenshot, PC, Review

Just like its predecessor, Finding Paradise is built using RPG Maker XP. The game’s fullscreen function isn’t ideal, seemingly stretching a 640x480 window to the larger resolution of your choice. If the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen didn’t bother me a lot, some of the image’s crispness was lost in the process. While the game does take place in various locations, some of which carry a subtle sense of beauty, Finding Paradise never truly impresses, not even in the moments when it breaks away from the top-down pixel-art view. Similar complaints could be leveraged against its predecessor and, while it didn’t stop To The Moon from telling a powerful story, the fact that a different take on visuals would be more pleasing to the eye remains.

Finding Paradise revolves around exploring scenes across a timeline made up of the patient’s memories. As scenes complete, they reward orbs which are required in order to access mementos that, once unlocked by completing short match 3 puzzles, bridge travelling from one memory to another. As you move across Colin’s timeline, a deeper understanding regarding the patient’s past is gained, in an attempt to figure out how it might be changed in order to fulfill his wish. The core gameplay loop is simplistic but the strength of the writing and music make it easy to overlook.

Finding Paradise, Screenshot, PC, Review

Finding Paradise continues to have great juxtaposition of humorous and emotional moments. Their pacing is just perfect, and the writing shines all the way through. It provides genuine character interactions, not only between the protagonists but between the other people you encounter in your journey. Something as simple as someome trying to sell an apartment to someone else can quickly benefit from a humor injection, only to return back to being serious the next moment. Certain emotional moments are broken up by banter between Rosalene and Watts and overall, the notion that you’re playing as two colleagues does carry on in these, often pun laden, exchanges of theirs. Finding Paradise doesn’t overuse these humorous moments, either. They’re there in just the right quantity, at just the right time, making sure the story only lingers when it absolutely needs to. Certain lines of dialogue also nudge towards how sequels should improve and iterate, or elements of game design that can be a nuisance for players, such as backtracking. These are also used very organically, mostly in moments of exploration, when little else is going on.

Colin’s request is vaguer than Johnny’s in To The Moon, initially seeming contradictory. There’s a heavy focus on regret and how different people are affected by and deal with it. What begins as a tricky situation takes an unexpected path. Once you start getting a glimpse into Colin’s past, you understand where he’s coming from, the bedridden bunch of pixels becoming more and more humanized. Desires and limitations come into play allowing the story to step into an eerily personal territory. Then, events also touch on the nature of Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts’ work, furthering things in that direction ever so slightly. Of course, discovering these things by yourself is precisely what the game is about and in my five hour journey through Colin’s memories I found myself laughing, pondering and, just like with its predecessor, tearing up. It branches out into contemplative space giving, perhaps, slightly less attention to the emotional aspect of things, but not without telling a genuine, real story, that might even have a bit of wisdom to it.

Finding Paradise, Screenshot, PC, Review

Finding Paradise might not have as strong a musical piece as To The Moon’s “For River”, yet that doesn’t mean it’s much lesser of a game in the musical department. From relaxing soft chimes, touching interplay between piano and cellos to orchestral crescendos, variety is, without a doubt, there. More importantly, there is proper emphasizing of specific, relevant moments. Music does, indeed, play a role in Colin’s life and a handful of well-crafted, touching scenes are sure to remain with the player. The soundtrack can be playful when it’s required, it can be ominous, it can be gentle and it will most certainly call out to just stay there, staring at an almost static scene until certain tracks end.

Finding Paradise tells a different story, never beating around the bush, nor attempting to rush anywhere. It’s there for as much as it needs to be, gently pulling in anyone experiencing it. Colin’s plot may be the main focus, however the two doctors get their fair share of dialogue as well. On top of being an emotional experience, Finding Paradise also steps into cerebral, contemplative territory. Despite attempting some variety, the gameplay and visuals don’t stand out too much. The great thing about it is that they don’t impede the narrative either, as I quickly found myself invested in and caring about the life story of a bunch of fairly standard-looking pixel sprites. It’s this brilliant mixture of wonderful music and touching narrative that made To The Moon a game I can recommend to anyone. It’s why I’ll do the same with Finding Paradise’s admittedly different, yet still powerful tale.

Bogdan Robert, NoobFeed
Facebook | Twitter

comments powered by Disqus


General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Freebird Games
Developer(s): Freebird Games
Genres: Point and click
Themes: Adventure
Release Date: 2017-12-14

View All

Popular Articles