Play As A Truly “Alien” Alien In Paradise Lost: First Contact

By Nathan Grayson on October 26th, 2013 at 3:00 pm.

This screenshot is basically useless. Go watch the video. Go. Go!

I love covering crazy, wildly creative PC games from small studios, in large part because – much like a maniacal, self-replicating plant alien – they can come out of nowhere, surprise the cynical scowl off my face, and ultimately delight/murder me. Despite an almost certainly overwrought name, Paradise Lost: First Contact looks like an incredibly cool concept – not to mention one that circumvents one of my big problems with many games: our aliens are often just humans with candy-colored skin. In this one, however, you play as a captive plant alien squid monster thing that must use stealth, guile, and horrifying strangeness to flee and – bleeech – replicate. Go below to see for yourself. It’s positively brilliant stuff. Wow.

Sidescrolling stealth mixed with multiple environmental paths/puzzles mixed with out-of-this-world horror where you’re the thing that goes bump in the vents? Yes please. First Contact (which is what I’m calling it from now on given that the name Paradise Lost is already rather well spoken for) is also non-linear, taking cues from the ever-popular Metroidvania genre that – again like a sentient squid plant of doom – has recently taken over everything. Other important bits include:

  • A huge map full of secrets, traps and puzzles, based on stealth gameplay and platform challenges mixed with RPG skill progression
  • Different ways to face situations, using an wide range of abilities like mental control, camouflage, decoys, organic bombs, and more
  • Deep storytelling full of intense dialogues, twists, and action sequences

You can also climb walls and be all gross-like. Hurrah! Meanwhile, humans will throw whatever they can at you: guards, cameras, machines, mechs, and perhaps even test subjects imbued with your own DNA. You’ve got the element of surprise on your side, but they have everything else.

The story seems a bit wonkily written at the moment (I get the impression that English isn’t the developer’s first language), but hopefully that will be smoothed out with time. Time and, presumably, money, which is another thing that First Contact needs. Like so very, very many of its indie ilk, it’ll be going up on Kickstarter soon. I hope it does well, seeing as it’s a super fascinating, largely original idea. Also, I want more weird aliens in my games, damn it. My soul wriggles, gurgles, and is completely unable to comprehend why humans do so many dumb, awful things. LET ME BE MY TRUE SELF, GAMES.

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56 Comments »

  1. swampzero says:

    This looks like a Mark of the Ninja re-skin to make all the ninja abilities alien themed, and with worse graphics

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      So you’re saying it looks both exactly like Mark of the Ninja and… not like Mark of the Ninja?

      Honestly I’m extremely intrigued, this looks like a barrel of fun. Will be watching, may be backing.

    • Flopper says:

      That guy meant to say “This game looks awesome, but I’m a typical RPS negative nancy who says everything looks like a copy of everything else and nothing is as good as the games that came before it.”

    • Viroso says:

      Not it doesn’t what you even

    • S Jay says:

      I totally want to play Mark of the Alien.

    • Erinduck says:

      So I take it you didn’t watch the trailer and also never played Mark of the Ninja then

    • SomeDuder says:

      I get his point though – replace the walking plant with a commando/ninja/whatever and there’d be no difference. It even throws a flashbang or whatever that was.

      Then again, it’s not fair to make assumptions on an early, way too short trailer. One for the watchlist.

      • Koozer says:

        If that all it takes to qualify I have half a dozen Gameboy Colour games that are Mark of the Ninja reskins.

        • longtimereader says:

          Interesting words LarryTheMolester, my friend makes $83/hour on the laptop. She has been fired for nine months but last month her income was $21331 just working on the laptop for a few hours check it quickly>>>>>> http://goo.gl/XjXcH1

          • Lyrion says:

            I’m not sure you should believe a lady with the name LarryTheMolester tho…

      • MrHunter says:

        I get his point as well. Especially when the alien thing used a trapdoor to navigate under the floor, I found it reminiscent of Mark of the Ninja.

        But let me be clear about this: I think it’s a good thing, because it raises the chance that this game will be my cup of tea, and with the art style, theme and abilities, I think it sets itself apart very well.

    • Yglorba says:

      “This looks like [totally awesome game], but different! It sucks!”

      (Also I don’t recall the sections of Mark of the Ninja where you commanded miniature ninja-clones of yourself.)

    • MobileAssaultDuck says:

      So it looks like one of the best stealth games of our generation with an alien theme and a different art style.

      Sounds good to me.

    • Acorino says:

      And Mark of the Ninja is a ninja-themed Oddworld reskin without the farting.

    • Doghaus says:

      Do you even like games?

      The game looks good, have a word with yourself.

    • Kubrick Stare Nun says:

      All video games are a reskin of Pong.

  2. Ansob says:

    Why can’t I preorder this/pitch in for the Kickstarter yet? :( “Metroidvania,” “stealth game” and “gorgeous pixel art” are basically all my magic buy buttons and I want this now.

  3. JiminyJickers says:

    This looks quite good. So many interesting games coming out.

  4. kyrieee says:

    Something to keep an eye on for sure. Terrible name though, I doubt I’ll remember it.

  5. benexclaimed says:

    This is fairly similar to Perfect Cell, an iOS game from a few years ago.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPM00IWERbA

    Looks great though.

  6. Gap Gen says:

    I bet the plant-squid is all like THEY’RE IN THE GODDAMN CORRIDORS.

  7. TechnicalBen says:

    It would be nice to have a game where once, just once the aliens are not trying to kill everyone. I mean how hard is… [watched video, gets a little through it] WHAT? Did someone read my mind there? Cool! Cute little space plant out to escape the crutches of evil people, that looks interesting!

  8. Zaftrum189 says:

    Sort of reminds me of the early facehugger levels in AvP2, only in 2D and with more puzzles.

  9. particlese says:

    Woah, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for this one (greenlight-concept follow und stuff). Just the other night I was chin-groping at my Super Metroid cart.

    Thanks for the heads-up, Nathan.

  10. Notebooked says:

    Totally inhuman aliens that still work in an understandable way are what I want and yet, consistently, cannot have. I’ll be looking out for this.

  11. Hypnotron says:

    Their CEO is NOT HUMAN!
    http://www.asthreeworks.com/about/

    No wonder!

  12. Michelle says:

    my friend makes $83/hour on the laptop. She has been fired for nine months but last month her income was $21331 just working on the laptop for a few hours check it quickly>>>>>> http://goo.gl/XjXcH1

  13. Sardaukar says:

    I’m not sure if it’s demanding ambition or just being pedantic to think that even this isn’t truly alien, since any creature we come up with is going to be influenced by what we know of life on Earth. But I do think it. This thing is technically better than green humans, but it’s still just a jellyradish.

    • asura kinkaid says:

      the closest i’ve seen of a truly alien life form was imagined by Peter Watts in Blindsight http://www.rifters.com/real/Blindsight.htm I suppose it isn’t that surprising that a marine biologist should do a far better job of it than your typical SF writer

      • Convolvulus says:

        “Like many others, I am weary of humanoid aliens with bumpy foreheads, and of giant CGI insectoids that may look alien but who act like rabid dogs in chitin suits. … The challenge is thus to create an ‘alien’ that truly lives up to the word, while remaining biologically plausible.

        Scramblers are my first shot at meeting that challenge— and given how much they resemble the brittle stars found in earthly seas, I may have crapped out on the whole unlike-anything-you’ve-ever-seen front, at least in terms of gross morphology. It turns out that brittle stars even have something akin to the scrambler’s distributed eyespot array. Similarly, scrambler reproduction— the budding of stacked newborns off a common stalk— takes its lead from jellyfish. You can take the marine biologist out of the ocean, but…”

        I consider Blindsight one of the best stories ever written in the first contact genre, but Watts didn’t convince me that humans are capable of conceiving truly alien biology, psychology, etc. As Sardaukar says, anything of terrestrial derivation is essentially incapable of being authentically extraterrestrial. What I like most about that book is the analysis of the human crew.

        • Geebs says:

          Well, the scramblers are appropriately evolved to cope with their environment, so you can actually blame Darwin rather than the author here. I thought Blindsight was an extremely impressive book and very well written (which makes it rather saddening that the “rifters” books are pretty awful), and the way the contact stuff is handled is very clever.

          Spoiler warning: I’m surprised that you weren’t convinced by the aliens’ psychology, because one of the main points is that they don’t have one!

      • lokimotive says:

        See also Stanisław Lem’s Solaris, which features an extraterrestrial creature so alien that no human can really understand it what it is, what it does, or why it does it, and, implicitly, it can’t really understand humans either. Also, as cheesy as it looks on the series, I would propose the Horta in Star Trek’s Devil in the Dark as a good example of an extraterrestrial species that doesn’t make much sense to humans.

      • AngoraFish says:

        Perhaps the problem is not with the author, but the anthropomorphic reader/player, kind of like what we already do with dogs, cats, dolphins, etc.

        If you’re expecting to experience a truly ‘alien’ worldview you might not be looking in the right place.

      • syllopsium says:

        Try Anvil of Stars by Greg Bear. It has a good effort at a distinctly different alien lifeform that works alongside humans.

  14. xStahl says:

    GUYVER!

  15. yusefsmith says:

    Awesome, this game is jam-packed full of fun and interesting features. I will go buy it right now!

  16. Contrafibularity says:

    Excellent, stunning visuals too.

  17. Acorino says:

    Oh my, this looks gorgeous! Must play! Now!

  18. droid says:

    Alert!

    OCTODAD has breached containment. Repeat: research subject OCTODAD is on the loose.

    Activate containment protocols. Lifts will be disabled, all vertical transport must be via ladder or stair. Any suspicious persons will be required to climb a ladder.

  19. Doghaus says:

    Looks good, some really nice little touches and details and I think the animations are really characterful. I’m interested in the scene in the bathroom, with the guy lying unconscious. Has the alien assumed human form and stolen the guy’s clothes? Or is this a different plot in the game? Tantalising.

    I always find myself rooting for the aliens in sci fi films.

  20. natedynamic says:

    Looks awesome.
    Completely burned out on pre-Kickstarter, retro-chic, grandiose concept games.
    I’d like to /play/ something that has been unveiled in the last 2-3 years. -.-

    • Erinduck says:

      Games don’t just coalesce out of the aether. People have to make them.

    • Cinek says:

      Yea… tell me about that. None of the games I backed are yet released (and some of them been worked on for over 1,5 year), and the only game completed through Kickstarter than I bought – Shadowrun: Returns – came out to be a huge let-down (it pretty much ended before I started to play end engage with the world. lol).

  21. Kubrick Stare Nun says:

    Right at your face, Mass Effect.

  22. Servizio says:

    Here’s hoping there’s lots of opportunities for creative tentacle tactics and propagating your species.

  23. AADA7A says:

    Haha, ass in the air looks like a Johnny Sasaki reference!

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