Review – Finding Paradise
Finding Paradise is a sequel to the indie story-based adventure games, To the Moon and A Bird Story, developed and published by Freebird Games and released on December 14, 2017. It once again follows the Sigmund Corp. doctors, Eva Rosalene and Neil Watts, as they traverse the mind of an elderly patient on his deathbed to fulfill his final wish.
While the premise of this game is very similar to To the Moon, I was happy to see that it wasn’t a direct copy of it. It starts off with the doctors trying to figure out how to please their latest client, Colin Reeds, the main protagonist of A Bird Story. His request is fairly simple, he wants to feel like he’s lived a full life, but without changing anything major from it. Alright, maybe it’s not so simple. With that, the doctors are off trying to reconstruct his memories so they can make his dying wish come true.
Finding Paradise is once again a pretty straightforward point-and-click style of game, but Freebird Games incorporated a few changes this time around that added a bit more to the gameplay of it. There are now more items and people you can interact with that will give you some humorous lines, as opposed to previous titles that only allowed for contact with a very limited amount of mementos. It also uses a new puzzle system for activating the required mementos, which is thankfully a lot more challenging this time around. They’re still not the toughest puzzles to solve, but they’re a whole lot more fun and interesting.
There is a lot more humor peppered in to this installment as well. The banter between the two doctors is consistently amusing and the jokes made by Dr. Watts are so bad you’ll hate yourself a bit for laughing. On top of that, there are a few minigames that are throwbacks to older games, but feature the characters from this story. This added to the playfulness of the game and helped break up some of the longer monotonous portions, giving it much better pacing.
The visuals are about the same as they have always been It’s a delightful pixelated look, with a vibrant color pallet and wonderful character animations. The backgrounds range from grandiose to minimalist and faded depending on the memory.
Once again, the music is one of the biggest strengths of Finding Paradise. The soundtrack, composed by Kan Gao, is exquisite and perfectly fits the emotional tone of the game. It’s fairly subtle, focusing mainly on a piano and cello, but occasionally opening up to a full orchestra. The melodies vary from heart-wrenchingly beautiful, to chipper and playful. He perfectly accompanies the ambiance of the current scene and gives it even more depth.
I was elated to see that Finding Paradise was able to take the few shortcomings of To the Moon and improve upon them. It offered a bit more variety with the gameplay, although it was still a heavily story driven game that holds your hand through most of it. The puzzles that were once so easy my four year old could solve them, have now been replaced by a new puzzle system that gets increasingly harder and more creative as you go. The few new hilarious minigames were a welcome addition as well. While the story in this one wasn’t quite as poignant as in To the Moon, it was all around a much better and more enjoyable game. I cannot wait for the next episode.
Finding Paradise is available now on PC, Mac, and Linux.
Reviewed on PC with an i7-9700k, RTX 2070, and 16gb of RAM.