I have to say, this game (Paranautical Activity) looked like it wouldn’t be anything more than a sloppy attempt at mashing up Minecraft and Doom, but it proved to be a fun, frustratingly addictive shooter. While it does have a Doom feel to it, the only thing linking it to Minecraft is the square environment, and mobs (video game slang for enemies; multiple definitions online). The controls in the game are easy to use, even with the lack of any formal instructions, and after only a few tours through the first and second levels I was getting into the swing of things. There are three different difficulty levels; each difficulty unlocking after the previous difficulty is beaten. All throughout the game there are ways to unlock special items and characters that can change the playfield either for the better or to make things more challenging. It’s almost like the unlockables mechanic in Crossy Road.
Statistically, First-Person-Shooter games are the game of choice from a statistical viewpoint, so I can see why these folks would want to try for that genre. What they created seems sloppily put together, and to tell the truth, I could have probably made this game by myself in a year (if I didn’t go to work and school fulltime). Still, even while I tell you the game seems sloppily put together, I know I’ll most likely find myself playing the game in the future. In fact, probably after I turn this review in, I’ll find myself trying to get passed level 3, cursing at how this game sucks. It’s the perfect game if you’re looking for a digital love/hate relationship.
I chose the Tank class on my first run. When you start the game you’re in an elevator that shows you there are 9 levels. Each level is randomly generated, and changes each play-through. The enemies are also randomly generated, and spawn only when you enter a new room. The only rooms without enemies are the gift shop room, the trap room, and the starting room. On my first room, I quickly discovered that a move and shoot style of play was the best strategy, as multiple enemies spawn in different areas all around you, and they each attack in different ways that can only be dodged. There are a few projectiles that can’t be avoided, and I always found those types of attacks came from bosses. Each level has at least two bosses, and the types of bosses can vary greatly. If there is a strategy to beating any of them, I wasn’t able to find one. I was lucky that the special gun I had for the tank class was a pretty beastly weapon, and killed each boss in a few careful shots.
All that being said, the generation of level layout, and room baddies, all seems pretty random. If you were to take a step back from the game, it really is just room after room in a giant gauntlet. Sure, the difficulty of each level and room changes as you unlock different items and characters, but it slowly becomes a trial and error game. Since it doesn’t really involve any long-lasting strategy, and very sparingly requires skill, it doesn’t do much to win my loyalty as a gamer. I only play to pass time, and if I win something from the game in the meantime, I barely shrug in celebration. The character classes themselves are odd at best, but at least offer some variety after you die as a tank twenty times.
The game proves challenging, and I like to consider myself at least an above average gamer. The game takes you really close to rage-quitting a few times, but only out of sheer bad luck. The controls weren’t faulty at all, and the game only lagged when loading the bad guys as you entered a room. I couldn’t tear myself away from the game, even when insulting it’s graphics and similarity to the Doom franchise, which is saying something in my book. For $10, Paranautical Activity could prove to be a fun way to pass the time, but it doesn’t have anything that would put it before other games. It’s merely something to fall back on after beating a different game.