Reviewed by: Senpavo
Developed by: Fantastico Studio
Published by: Digerati
Category: Shoot’em up, Roguelite, Arcade
Release Date: May 2, 2019
Are we back to the 80s? Well, with Black Paradox it surely feels that way! Black Paradox is an arcade roguelite Shoot’em up…set in space! Drive around the universe with your car-ship that is definitely not a blue DeLorean DMC-12, the Star Phoenix!
At first glance, Black Paradox doesn’t seem to have much to it: all you need to do is defeat the Hellraisers, a gang of intergalactic criminals, across seven different levels. Just keep the A button to shoot bullets and you are good…right?
Well…not exactly. The game actually features a surprising amount of quality elements! Right off the bat, this game has amazing visuals. Planets, nebulas and even the enemies are amazing: they are vibrantly-coloured and just feel like you are playing something from an 80s arcade machine, with incredible pixel art. The music is awesome too: the synth-wave soundtrack fits perfectly with the overall game.
Is that it? No, of course it isn’t! Across the different stages, you will find an astonishing number of different types of enemies, 62 to be exact, that will randomly drop life points and energy points. Bigger enemies will also drop weapons, and there are 20 of them in the game.
Once you max out the energy bar, you will be able to use a special move: the Black Paradox (well, that explains the name of the game!). The Black Paradox creates a dark copy of your ship, equipped with a random weapon, that won’t take any damage and will stay for a short period of time.
Stages are divided into two main parts: the first part, a side-scrolling section where you shoot more generic enemies and avoid asteroids and the second part, the boss of the stage. The bosses are all very different from one another, both by looks and how they play out. When you defeat one of them, they will drop two upgrades, though you will only be able to pick one.
There are two kinds of upgrades: drones and car upgrades. Drones will attack enemies on sight, while chips act as upgrades for the ship. Note that, being a roguelite, once you die, you will lose those upgrades. The one thing you won’t lose, however, are credits, used in the game store to buy chips that will upgrade your stats, like more shooting speed or a stronger attack. Those chips will always stick with your car even if you…explode.
The game does have some major flaws though. First of all, it’s extremely grindy. Credits are scarce and it will take a lot to get enough to get a decent upgrade. Due to this, it becomes repetitive quickly: load up the level, get credits, die and try again until you get what you want. Controls are a little slippery so it’s hard to avoid bullets, and the size of your ship doesn’t help. It’s very hard and unforgiving and feels unfair. The story barely exists, as all you get is the in-game tutorial and the initial video. Also, you can’t customize the car-ship at all, which seems like a no-brainer thing to add to a game like this.
Despite all those factors, the game, somehow, hooks you in: when I played it I would just say “Okay, one more go and then I’m done”, then I proceeded to play it ten more times. It might be the uniqueness of the weapons, the music, or because even if it’s hard, it’s still great fun. And hey, you can play in co-op!
In conclusion, Black Paradox looks and plays fantastically. Even if it’s unfair, it somehow stimulates the player to keep trying until they get to their goal, and the amount of content in it is captivating. The game is unfair and will be unfair to you at any time, but that’s what makes you hooked into it.
Buy Black Paradox
Check out Fantastico Studio!
Check out Digerati too!