Paradise Never [official site] is an action RPG set on a French island colony in the year 2027. Said colony is in turmoil as rebellion foments: revolution is in the air. You’ll be working alongside a group of colonial rebels, trying to overthrow your French rulers without getting yourself or your comrades killed.
So far, so standard: it’s not like games haven’t done revolution before, right? What attracts me about Paradise Never is the bevy of fresh ideas it brings to the table. More on that below the fold, after a (fairly lengthy) trailer.
The subtitle, “The Revolution Fails”, is a good start. Revolutions are messy things and rarely work out as planned. At the start of the game a revolution has been put down, presumably rather bloodily. But worry not because a mystical goddess has decided to step in and intervene, resetting time to three days prior, affording you – and the revolution – another chance.
This time-looping lends structure to the game – after three days elapse time will reset, the tropical island environment will be regenerated and you’ll have to begin again. It’s not clear what – if anything – you carry over, but by the sounds of it the most important resource is knowledge. Understanding the motivations of the various NPCs you’ll encounter, and presumably need to win to your cause, sounds crucial.
I really like the idea of a sort of revolutionary Groundhog Day, forced to relive history until you set it on the expected path. I also like the idea that NPCs will respond to you differently depending on the time and their circumstances, complicating the process of understanding them. If well-written, that could be wonderful. I also like the stylish UI and portrait art, which is the work of indie game artist Sara Gross, as well as the music used in the trailer.
On the other hand I think the visual style of the rest of the game is… going to prove divisive. Frankly it looks like developer graphics, or one of those shonky my-first-game efforts you see cropping up on indie game webstores. Here’s hoping that either the visuals are reconsidered as development continues, or that the rest of the game’s ideas come together well enough that its appearance simply doesn’t matter.
Paradise Never’s release date is yet to be confirmed.