Black Paradox is the newest “navinha game” that has just landed on all platforms, bringing a super “neon 80s” vibe to the matches, check out our review!
Black Paradox puts us in the role of a bounty hunter — aka a bounty hunter — who has set out to take down the hellraisers, an abominable swarm of evildoers who are running terror across the galaxy.
Our protagonist does not pilot a spaceship well, but a car — which is VERY reminiscent of the Delorean from the classic series Back to the future — who has a very special ability: to manipulate the energy of black holes, he “travels in time”… but not in the traditional way.
Seriously, it looks like the Delorean, huh?
What happens is: when using the skill Black Paradox, a temporary replica of our ship is created/Delorean, which will help us in combat for a few seconds, possibly using another weapon. It’s not really unheard of — Son of Mora I’ve done something like that—but it’s a mechanic that works.
Rogue-lite shoot’em up
At first glance, Black Paradox is a 2D horizontal shoot’em up quite traditional. Your objective is to “sit your finger” on the fire button, eliminating hordes of enemy ships and trying not to get targeted in the process.
Check out some gameplay below
As in so many other games of the genre, enemies arrive in droves, scattering their light projectiles in different patterns across the screen. And here, too, there are meteorites, asteroid belts, and other dangers.
That wouldn’t be a problem if this were a traditional level game, but it’s not: Black Paradox it’s a rogue-lite, and brings elements of this genre to the universe of shmups. Something that actually works…but makes the journey much longer and harder than it should be.
Explaining: in Black Paradox you’ll face a handful of bosses at the end of a handful of levels. You just have to do it all in one game! Died, lose all your progress, and need to start the journey from the beginning, facing all stages and bosses again.
The “layout” of the phases itself is random, that is, although the boss of the first phase is always the same, the phase itself is not always the same: enemies will change, as well as their disposition in the phase. There is only one power-up per phase, and it’s also random.
The weight of the rogue-lite
These elements are not really problematic, but they make progress in Black Paradox extremely plastered. The phases barely last 3 minutes, but having to redo them all with each new attempt — facing the same bosses at the end of each one — goes from “fun” to “annoying” pretty quickly.
This biker is the third boss
As in other rogue-lites, here too it is possible to buy permanent improvements, but either they’re too expensive, or the benefit they do isn’t all that useful, like upgrades that recover a little bit of energy per minute — the short phases make that pretty irrelevant. To make matters worse, accumulating cash to unlock these upgrades takes a long time.
One more problem: our ship/flying car can only carry two weapons at a time, and equipping a new one automatically eliminates the one that was equipped before. The question is that some weapons are clearly better than others, so if the game isn’t “nice” to put a decent gun in your way, even getting past the first stage can be a lot harder than it should.
Releasing the best upgrades is very expensive
It is noteworthy that the game has support for 2-player co-op local gaming. I ended up not having time to try out the game’s coop, but it’s likely to become more accessible in coop… as long as both players are skilled, of course.
The question is: Black Paradox is a “navinha game” that would be great as a traditional level game, with lives/continues and all, but what it brings from the rogue-lite genre ends up playing against it, and turns the experience into an exercise in repetition and perseverance .
If the idea of the products was to make a rogue-lite, ok. But, I think he deserved to have another more “traditional” game mode, for those who simply want to enjoy all the stages in order, and that’s it. the creative Battle Princess Madelyn did something like that, and it works really well: the mode Arcadian is a linear phased game, while the mode story is a much denser MetroidVania, which expands the game considerably.
Black Paradox is an extremely stylish game. Bringing that “80s futurism” vibe we saw in Far Cry Blood Dragon, we have a lot of neon, bright colors and a vibrant and stylish pixel art that oozes personality. Space games are usually dark, but the space here is very colorful, with very colorful constellations, planets and black holes.
The space here is very colorful
The game soundtrack also hits the right hand, bringing original tracks extremely “sticky” — in a good way. These are songs loaded with synthesizers and drum machines that match perfectly with the game’s retro-futuristic feel. It’s the kind of music that’s even good to listen to outside of the game — and you can do it here.
In other words, in artistic and creative terms, Black Paradox is a game that really knows how to get a message across. I liked it right away for its obvious reference to the series. Back to the future, and although it’s not really a game guided by references, it brings an eighties spirit extremely pleasing to the eyes and ears.
If it was “just a little game of navinha”, Black Paradox would have everything to be among the best of the genre. Its gameplay is simple and functional, its power ups are creative, its bosses are cool and its audiovisual is wonderful.
How does the flamethrower work in an oxygen-free environment?
However, it’s not “just a navinha game”, and that’s where the problem lies: everything it brings from rogue-lite ends up taking away the shine of what it could be if it were a more linear and to the point game. What could be a great 1-hour game stretches to 7, 8, 10 hours… as much as you need to repeat the whole blast until you can go from beginning to end in one shot.
Remembering that That’s my opinion, and I’m not a big fan of rogue-lites. If you like the genre and don’t mind repetition (and maybe a lot of frustration), you can come without fear, because Black Paradox is an extremely competent 2D shmup.
Black Paradox was released on May 2, with versions for SQUARE, Playstation 4, Xbox one and Nintendo Switch (reviewed version). The game has menus and subtitles in English only.