Paratopic is a surreal horror game that’s hard to define. You experience the game through the roles of many different characters in a world powered by videotapes. It’s difficult to tell at first, but as the game moves on you’ll see the importance and order of events that go on.
There’s three main characters with a strong involvement in the story. A sleuth who tracked down someone with a cache of tapes to see them for himself. A smuggler who distributes the tapes and tries to get them past some sort of unknown border. Then a photographer in the woods who happens upon a recording from the power company, and eventually a haunting entity.
Each section has it’s own story and theme that jumps around from one to the other. None of what happens seems to make much sense, and the creator intended that. The characters don’t really tell you much about whats going on either. Not to mention they speak in a garbled inaudible robotic voice. Some of their faces flash to static periodically too. Maybe that’s an effect from the tapes.
The Smuggler of Paratopic
The driving scenes were a bit too long, but it was the best way to show off the state of the games world. There’s nobody out, the buildings are rundown, and the sky is dark even during the day. It almost feels like a dream. You also learn more about the world of Paratopic through the worker at the gas station. Though you never find out what the ‘border’ actually is, you can ask about the surround area and what’s past it.
The motives of this character are probably the least well known. Is he a hitman, a private investigator, or someone who’s upset with the people who make the tapes? He manages to find a huge stash of tapes from stalking someone directly involved with them. He frantically searches through the piles for something. Is he looking for a working tape that still has power, or some sort of evidence? Those are more questions that are presented, but never answered.
You should take extra time to explore. There’s a lot to find like the power company recording in the first building you come across. You can also take pictures, and are supposed to take 6 pictures of birds. I thought it was buildings at first, the game doesn’t really tell you. Even if you get all 6 pictures, it doesn’t seem to change the game at all.
The photographer is sort of ‘The Witness’ of one of the deepest horrors that resulted from the tape experiments. The last place he stumbles upon is the power station.
What’s on the Paratopic Tapes?
Paratopic is an unsettling, but beautiful and thought provoking game. Though we never figure out whats actually on the tapes, we can make some accurate guesses. One being that they’re a vessel for transferring energy. They seem to work as a sort of drug for the person that watches and then stores energy from them on it. Whats the source of power from someone though, their soul?
The power company is the one behind it all, they hire the distributors to hand out the tapes to selected individuals. Then they’re brought back to be extracted for power. It’s a bizarre world that turned to such a low because of their desperate shortage of power and resources.
It takes around 45 minutes to complete depending on how much you explore and talk to others. I’d highly recommend trying it out. The price is a bit much for how short it is, and it’s not for everyone, so you might want to check out a preview of the game first. No matter what, the game is sure to leave you asking an endless amount of questions. If you enjoyed this game, Nightslink has a similar feel to it!