Wednesday, October 14, 2020

"Paratopic," Would Nail the Horror Vibe if it Wasn't Often So Dull

"Paratopic," is a video-game you can play on your computer, or if you're me, Nintendo Switch. It is a short game, advertised as being maybe 45 minutes to an hour or so long. It doesn't cost too much and when it first came out on PC it got some glowing reviews as an eerie horror title with Playstation 1-style graphics that gave it a low-tech vibe complemented by an eerie lo-fi electronic soundtrack. There is an assortment of characters in the game who don't meet, and there are some mysteries about an old electric company, forbidden VHS tapes, and some creepy imagery to go with it all. "Paratopic," would be outright scary if it wasn't dull a good chunk of the time.

When you're the character smuggling VHS tapes across the border you have some off-kilter conversations with another resident of your apartment, gas station attendants, and you have long boring stretches of driving. When you're a lady hiking you can snap pictures of birds, stumble upon odd hidden areas that drip with atmosphere, and be annoyed wandering around unsure where you go next. The assassin you seem to play the least of and her story is one I would have liked more of. 

There are times, "Paratopic," has some elements of body horror that are really disturbing--the VHS tapes do something to people that is grotesque. Sadly, between moments of tense horror or gross-out effects, you have long stretches of drab driving or wandering around the wilderness unsure what direction is even the correct one to go. There are moments of terror in, "Paratopic," they just are few and far between for my tastes. It's worth checking out, but know you'll need to be patient for your hour-ish of playtime.

3 out of 5 stars.

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