There are days where I like to just sit down and spend hours getting lost in some strategy game or simulator, and then there are days where I only have five minutes to blow off steam before I address the issues that come with being a parent. “Paranautical Activity” is a first person shooter that certainly falls into the latter category, as games can be over in less than ten seconds depending on how careless you are. Before we get started taking a look at this particular game, I’d like to thank the folks from Code Avarice for providing me with a free review copy.
The main menu allows you to jump into the game or quit…that’s it. Once you’re in-game however, you can hit escape to bring up more menu options. You can adjust mouse sensitivity, invert the controls, toggle various graphic effects, and adjust audio sliders. Adjusting screen resolution, toggling fullscreen, and setting the graphics quality can be done via a window pop-up before the game loads. One thing you cannot do and something I feel needs to be added, is a way to view the control scheme. There’s no indication as to which buttons do what, though I managed to determine that the WASD keys move, Space Bar jumps, and E acts as a use button. The left mouse button shoots your gun and the right mouse button throws a bomb, if you have one. The arrow keys move the character too, but the up and down arrows seem to be switched in that down moves forward and up moves back…possibly a bug.
The idea behind “Paranautical Activity” is simple…stay alive. You’ll be given a random gun and thrown into your starting room, where you’ll be allowed to explore the randomly generated map in a “Smash TV” like manner. As soon as you enter a new room, the door behind you closes (in most cases) and you’ll need to clear the room of enemies before exploring the next room. While most rooms task you with clearing out enemies, some rooms contain a gift shop that allows you to switch out available weapons for free or buy various power-ups. The map you’re on will contain a boss room as well, which you’ll need to pass if you want to make it to the next level.
The interface is easy to understand, with everything you’ll need in the lower left hand corner of the screen. Your health is displayed, as is your current armor pieces, bombs, and cash. Armor sacrifices itself to negate damage at a ratio of one armor per one hit. Bombs serve to give you that extra oomph when you need it, but the resulting explosion can damage you as well. Finally, cash can be used to purchase power-ups at gift shops. All of these things drop from fallen enemies, so be sure to collect them as they appear and when it is safe to do so. After all, death is permanent in this game.
At present, there are four weapons that you’ll be able to make use of. As mentioned above, you’ll start with a random one, but be allowed to switch out new ones as they appear in gift shops. The crossbow seems to be by far the most powerful, but the fire button must be held down if you want to shoot far away. The shotgun and the rifle look and feel the same, except the former is a bit more powerful with more time in between shots. The plasma chain gun fires these bright green energy balls, but take a little time to get to their target.
Overall, “Paranautical Activity” is an extremely challenging, but fun game to play. It’s very colorful and I was immediately attracted to its visuals. It’s fairly easy to die in this game, so moving around during combat is a must. Those of you who played a lot of Unreal Tournament, Quake, and etc. will feel right at home bunny hopping and strafing your way to victory. Maps randomly generate as you go from level to level, increasing the game’s replayability. You’ll still face the same bosses in order as you go from level to level, but the layout of the maps will be different. The game is currently going for $5.99 on Desura, which is worth picking up assuming you don’t mind putting strategy in the backseat of the car and giving yourself over to your reflexes. Those seeking an in-depth strategy game or simulator should probably look elsewhere, but those who enjoy roguelike first person shooters would do well to pick it up.
Final Verdict: 6/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Paranautical Activity” by visiting the following websites:
You can help bring the game to Steam by voting for it on its Greenlight page, here:
You can view video play sessions here: