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Paradoxion

Published by VSBgames
Price $24.95
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Primary Genre Secondary Genre

If I were to travel back in time and accidentally kill my own father on his 10th birthday (sorry dad...), what would happen? I mean, if he dies before I'm even conceived, then I won't be around to go back in time to kill him in the first place. This dilemma is known as a paradox. Yet, sadly, it has nothing to do with Paradoxion.

Paradoxion is themed around space and planets. The first page greets you with a testimonial! That flash in the middle is my blue orbs exploding, this explosion will move the red orbs sideways.

Rather than being a game based on the what-if type scenario above, Paradoxion is instead a completely logical puzzle game. Which is a shame because the world doesn't need another indie puzzle game, even a high quality one like this. I guess I'll have to wait a bit longer to see a game based around parodoxes (paradoxii?).

The aim of Paradoxion is to clear a series of rooms of all objects. The rooms are set up as grids with a set pattern of objects pre-placed in each. To clear the room you must place new objects from your inventory into the room. A typical example would be a room with two red orbs with a space between them and a red orb in your inventory. Place the inventory orb between the two existing red orbs and you'll form a chain that removes all three orbs.

This is the first proper challenge, to make a chain you'll need to plan your object placement carefully. This level is about the time I started to lose interest. I'm not a big puzzle fan and this level had me scratcing my head for a long time.

Of course, that example is very basic - something that cannot be said for the vast majority of the 90 rooms on offer in this game! Early levels require careful planning to complete but later levels start to introduce new objects such as diamonds, blastoids, paradoxes, shifters, teleports, and disintegrators, all of which have special rules of operation. The orbs and diamonds for example don't just explode, they also push nearby objects, whilst later objects such as shifters and teleports are needed solely to move other objects around the screen.

As a puzzle game, Paradoxion does a very good job of hooking the player. It has that one-more-go nature that can sap hours of your life away if you're not careful. I personally found the game to be incredibly relaxing, thanks largely to the excellent ambient music which helps alleviate some of the frustration of later puzzles.

Like most games of this genre, visuals and presentation are more functional that flashy. The graphics are great but the game somehow feels dated and lacks character. It is really easy to sit down and play Paradoxion thanks to the brief opening tutorial and ongoing pop-up tutorial screens in each level. As new objects become available, you are told how to use them, though sometimes you are given a little too much information (but you can switch off the tutorials).

Controls are also a strong point of the game with several methods available. You need a mouse for placement of objects but you can select inventory items easily with mouse clicks, mousewheel or keyboard. Unlike other puzzlers, you have as much time as you like to complete levels too, so you're not rushed into making bad moves.

It is hard to summarise a game like Paradoxion as it does nothing we haven't seen before. Sure, the exact game mechanics haven't been seen before and the developers have made a tight game that does everything well but the high cost of the game and the general 'feel' of the game will have most people losing interest after 20 levels. My advice is to definitely try the demo as it offers an hour of fun and then you can see if you want more of the same.

If you do want more, you'll find a level editor and user-created levels are available for you to spend time with. And should you ever get stuck in a level, the developer website has full solutions to help you out.

Graphics 80%
Sound 85%
Playability 85%
Longevity 70%
Overall Score 79%
Silver Star

Published on 04 Aug 2006
Reviewed by Hayden Yale

Keywords: paradoxion review, vsbgames reviews, vsbgames games, paradoxion scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.

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