Paranormasight is a chilling, but intriguing horror and mystery adventure game that focuses on various protagonists in a layered story. At the center of it all is the Rite of Resurrection, a ceremony that can bring back the dead. But how far will everyone go in order to revive their loved one? Paranormasight seeks to answer that question.
The prologue, or Chapter 1, centers around Okiie Shogo. Soon after his introduction, he gets a mysterious curse stone that kills people when they walk away from them. He has to use this curse to collect Soul Dregs, which are the key to the Rite of Resurrection. Like a combination of Ace Attorney and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Curse Bearers such as Shogo use items and conversation in order to activate the conditions of their curse to collect Soul Dregs from each other. There are several characters and conversation topics that pop up throughout Shogo’s chapter without much development. These future plot points bring a new level of intrigue to the story, which makes me want to keep on playing to see what’s up with them.
All of the curses draw inspiration from the Seven Mysteries of Honjo. These are actual urban legends and superstitions within Japan and Paranormasight uses real ukiyo-e paintings of the “Seven Wonders of Honjo” from Kuniteru Utagawa III in its files. The setting of the Sumida ward has also been lovingly recreated. Obviously, as a horror game, there are a few jump scares here and there but nothing that bad. The whole game is more tense than scary. The true horrors in this game come from the characters’ actions and willingness to kill people on the off-chance to bring back a loved one. Even so, there is some light humor here and there to keep it from being too intense. Kai’s entire existence is a riot (thus far). As well, I especially enjoyed the scene of Shogo knocking Namigaki down a peg.
Something I was always interested in is the usage of multiple protagonists in Paranormasight. This is a story-telling technique that, when executed properly, adds such a layer of mystery to a plot. The three that you get after you complete the prologue got very little in way of their characterization so I would love to see how they found themselves involved in all of this. There is an interesting twist near the end of Shogo’s story that had me scratching my head even hours after playing it. Just what happened that night? Aside from the multilayered approach to story-telling, there is a over-arching narrator: the Storyteller. He adds a wonderful meta-horror touch to the whole tale without being overbearing. I like the balance between his parts and the actual story a lot so far.
Paranormasight is visually a treat in its early hours. It combines the retro showa era setting in its creative usage of a color TV as its main interface (with satisfying buzzing sound effects to boot) with the more soft and modern art style of Gen Kobayashi’s art style. Kobayashi previously worked as a character art designer for the The World Ends With You series. The characters are a lot less anime-proportioned in this though. From what I saw at the start of Shogo’s route, the character designs are fairly plain. But it lends a sense of grounded realism in a story that is otherwise fraught with supernatural twists and turns. With its beautiful looks and enticing tale, Paranormasight promises to be a new favorite for mystery and J-horror fans alike.
Paranormasight will appear on the Windows PC via Steam on March 8, 2023 and the Nintendo Switch on March 9, 2023.