When it comes to story genres, there are few things I like more than murder mysteries and sweet romances. If you hand me a game that features one or both of these things, I’m in. If you show me an adventure game that features one or both, I will knock you out of the way to grab it. Show me an adventure game that’s a murder mystery with retro-styled graphics, an insane and convoluted backstory, and a half-naked demon that’s always flipping the bird at you, you’d have Paradise Killer. And yes, it’s just as awesome as that last sentence.
Paradise Killer pits the player in the middle of an insane alternate universe with insane, over-the-top characters. The story behind the world of Paradise is convoluted at best, nonsensical at worst. Just whenever I thought I had a handle on what this world was all about, another twist was thrown my way. For example, Paradise is a utopia that exists in its own dimension of reality. It’s ruled by a Council, and specific characters have very specific roles to play when it comes to creating and sustaining Paradise. The problem with Paradise is that even though the Council honors and worships gods, they expressly forbid anyone consorting with them. Doing so always leads to demonic corruption, which means Paradise has failed and must be expunged. With every new sequence of Paradise, the Council believes they are one step closer to perfection.
Are you still with me? Good, because now things are about to get really crazy.
The main character, Lady Love Dies, is Paradise’s lone investigator, but she consorted with a god in the 13th Paradise and was subsequently exiled. However, now Paradise needs her skills more than ever. Someone murdered the entire Council, and while the remaining government of Paradise has a suspect, the Judge wants to make sure they do have the right person. It’s up to Lady Love Dies, her personal computer Starlight, and her investigative skills to crack this case. Oh, and there’s this demon who constantly appears and kind of gives you advice before laughing maniacally and poofing into thin air.
Starlight logs all notes from the investigation and will help guide Lady Love Dies to her next destination. Crossing the island will require solving puzzles and collecting items scattered all over the creation. It helps keep the investigation tedium fresh and always looking for other clues while exploring. That said, though, the investigation needs very little sprucing.
Even though you may not be able to access all parts of the island right away, it’s completely up to you how to you want to conduct your investigation. There’s no right or wrong order to talking to witnesses and other characters who might be in the know. You can follow up with characters at any time. You might do some backtracking, especially when characters’ alibis seem to fall apart, but it’s all part of the investigation experience. The more you talk to one character, maybe you’ll learn a bit more about them or about another character. Or maybe they’re tricking you into believing what they want you to believe. It wasn’t long before I started taking my own notes to quickly reference witness testimony, rather than looking it up in Starlight every time.
When you’re ready to name the murderer, Lady Love Dies will bring the person to stand trial and it’s 100% up to Lady Love Dies (and you) to make the case against the culprit. Are you sure you have fully solved the mystery? Did you really find every last piece of evidence and pry out every bit of testimony? Even if you aren’t a completionist, Paradise Killer will make you one by the end. Between that and the fact that it got me off of Animal Crossing: New Horizon for the first time in weeks, I really can’t praise this thriller enough.