Finding Paradise is a story-driven adventure game released in December 2017, and is also the long awaited sequel to the game, “To The Moon“.
The patient is Colin Reeds, a retired airline pilot. Happily married, with a son. His wish? To keep his life in the same way, while still changing something.
The game resumes another day of work for Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts, but with a further look into employee life, introducing some of their colleagues.
Finding Paradise gives the player more reign to explore the story as Eva or Neil, given more choices to delve into the mystery in their own ways. Nothing is really taken away by choosing either, other than the character’s showing their individual personalities.
Watts has a habit of voicing out the player’s own complaints while playing before they get to think it. Incorporating comedy balances the heaviness and the suspense in understanding Colin’s memories. It goes hand-in-hand with the gameplay, and is done at just the right amount without completely losing the moment or point of the plot.
I’m clearly avoiding talking about how the story progresses, but it’s truly an experience to see for yourself. The blend of mystery, comedy, introspection, horror?, and everything else will get you completely attached.
Gameplay + Art
It’s really as the trailer says. Freebird continues to surprise with their ability to create and execute different concepts in one game without confusing the players. It’s even funnier if you’ve played popular games which they constantly pay homage to.
The puzzles are more difficult this time, but with no counted moves. It’s a little pressuring, especially when you become so used to counting the ideal moves per puzzle due to To the Moon’s gameplay, but it’s a nice change to offer more puzzle variety.
There was more room for the characters to demonstrate different facial/body expressions as well as other types of animation. It’s well known for having active animation — even for the smallest gestures for what seems like a retro game. People might say that it would be harder to connect with pixel beings, but with this series, it’s definitely not the case.
The art style for Finding Paradise stuck closer with the game’s pixel art theme. Doing that helps the player to remain in the genre and not break off from the overall feel — since it is a visual novel, the best way to keep the player engrossed is to keep a consistent art style, or one with a matching theme. Compare the art styles from To the Moon and Finding Paradise:
If you click the photo for Finding Paradise, and zoom in, notice that the art itself is similar to To The Moon’s but with pixel style influence. The edgy lining mixed with digital brush detailing made for such a sweet and calming scene.
A lot of the old soundtrack was revamped for Finding Paradise (i.e. Bestest Detectives in the World) and also was reused from their prelude “A Bird’s Story”. It serves a big treat for the fans that waited patiently until Finding Paradise was released.
Music is always a big factor in their stories so far, and their soundtracks are made so well that sometimes you question if the game is a part-horror. Kan Gao is an expert at amplifying the suspense.
Laura Shigihara also returns to sing for the game, making you even more emotional.
I think most folks would get the emotional core of To the Moon more. But for those who actually are able to relate to the core of Finding Paradise, I hope it means something.
I feel like it’s a story not often told because of how hard it’d be to relate to.
— Kan Gao (@Reives_Freebird) February 12, 2018
To be honest with you, I didn’t relate to Finding Paradise, but it had me bawling my eyes out. I didn’t even cry when I played To the Moon. The art and animation for these pixel beings is incredible. I’m honestly thankful for such a great comedic/story-rich script, paired with such imaginative art. Kan Gao is amazing.
Finding Paradise has about 5 hours of gameplay. My only concerns are with the mouse controls. Rather than following where you click, this time the direction where you click is what prompts your character to move around, so I preferred using the keyboard.
Opening the game, you’ll find the main window to be quite small. Just remember to use “Alt+Enter” so you can enter fullscreen mode.
Rating: 9 / 10
Finding Paradise is available to be played on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Purchase the game on GOG.