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.