‘Finding Paradise’ video game review
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
Finding Paradise by Freebird Games is another indie, plot-based game similar to the developer’s previous game To the Moon. Though the two are unrelated in plot, there are quite a few call-backs to the earlier game, including characters. Having played To the Moon prior, I would suggest anyone do the same before picking up this title.
Once again, doctors Eva Rosalene and Neil Watts are assigned a patient—this time, Colin Reeds. Like all the doctors’ previous patients, he wants his memories tampered with as he lays on his death bed, in order to die having lived a more rewarding life than what his reality was.
When Colin goes into the headquarters of the wish fulfillment company Sigmund Corp., he is asked what he would like to have changed about his life. Oddly, Colin says that he would like as little to be changed as possible yet enough so that he doesn’t have any regrets once he is on his deathbed.
Colin is married to Sofia and has a son named Asher. Both his wife and son are morose about Colin’s decision to have his memories altered because they are worried that Colin may wish to erase their lives together and create something entirely new.
When the game begins, we do not know what regrets Colin has. He is very ambiguous about what he wants the doctors to change—leaving his fate to the doctors’ hands. However, the doctors have a hard time going through his memories. In past cases the doctors traverse through the patient’s memories from their most recent to their earliest childhood memory. In Colin’s case, however, the memories go in a sort of spiral: “A gravitational centre,” as Eva calls it. This builds anticipation for the ending as you can see what part of Colin’s life you are at in each memory if you scroll over a bar at the top of the screen.
The music in this game is very attentive to detail. Orchestral scores are played throughout, and the songs may shift pertaining to what a character says during their dialogue. It also changes as you explore different rooms and areas on the map. A specific track during the game that stood out to me is one that plays during a memory of a theatre. The track sounds very creepy and is mostly a jarring combination of low beeps and a choir singing minor chords. It reminds me of sounds I hear during sleep paralysis.
A word of advice comes a little too far into the game when Eva says, “Try to remember that what we see here has more to do with relevance than importance to [Colin].” She says this because the memories that the player goes through are strange and typically not the happiest recollections the patient has. The game skips photo album memories—such as his wedding, his son’s graduation, and playing music with his wife—but keeps in memories that have something to do with the doctors’ jobs to alter his life into a happier one.
The end of the game features a lot more gameplay, with different sorts of minigames that resemble the likes of Street Fighter. There is even an unexpected boss battle.
Overall, Finding Paradise is another quality game by the developer. The story is enjoyable and much more family-friendly than To the Moon since it features lighter themes. I would recommend playing it after playing To the Moon because the story is complementary to the latter.