Welcome to our regular gameplay impressions and video post where we record our first 10-30 minutes with a new game, and provide some general impressions on that early playthrough. Today’s game is: Paranautical Activity from developer Code Avarice.
Paranautical Activity combines two of the hottest topics in PC games right now: Minecraft and the rogue-like genre. The art style is eerily reminiscent of Mojang‘s popular world-building title, and its flippant, ever-changing level design calls to mind games like Spelunky or Rogue Legacy.
On paper, that sounds like a combination worth checking out, but based on the first 15 minutes we spent with the game it’s hard to find much to enjoy. As with any rogue-like there are sure to be humps to overcome and a lot of grinding, but most games within that genre provide a clear goal.
Paranautical Activity, unfortunately, dumps the player right into the midst of some very challenging combat without communicating what it is they are supposed to be doing. By the time I was done with my early playthrough, I somewhat had a grasp on the game’s core concept, but I still had no idea what I was working towards.
On top of that, Paranautical Activity has a fairly brutal learning curve, which is common for the rogue-like genre but nonetheless discouraging. To happen upon an almost unbeatable boss so early, like the giant whale seen in the video, almost completely sapped my drive to continue, even if I liked the design of the enemy. And unless the player opts for the right character with the right weapon, it’s hard to see them finding any success going forward.
Maybe with some more dedication and time Paranautical Activity will “open up” and show its more compelling side. But what was on display for those first few minutes failed to grab me.
As well, it’s also hard to overlook the obviously Minecraft-inspired art style, and what Code Avarice’s use of the art style might entail. Minecraft is such a dominant force in PC games right now, breaking sales records left and right, that anytime a title features a similar art style it’s hard not to think the developer is simply trying to cash in on that craze.
For that matter, the game also appears to borrow from the likes of Doom and Quake in its enemy variety and minimalist level design. However, those games had clear goals, whereas Paranautical Activity does not.
For $9.99 on Steam, Paranautical Activity might appeal to a certain subset of gamers, but even those gamers will find there are better rogue-likes out there. Unfortunately, at least for me, the game didn’t grab hold within the first few minutes.
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What do you think of the look and design of Paranautical Activity? Does it sound like a game for you?
Paranautical Activity is available now for the PC through Steam Early Access.