The latest instalment in Freebird Games series of stories revolving around a company who makes peoples final wishes come true in their dying moments, offers the same level of emotional impact as their first creation, To The Moon. Finding Paradise has some mechanical faults and a few features missing, but the focus of the game is on the story it tells and Finding Paradise fulfils the expectations laid out by its predecessors in a short but extremely lovely game.
This instalment of the story sees the doctors, Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts, treating a man called Colin, who presents them with a rather challenging case that offers some unusual obstacles for them to overcome. The doctors must deal with alterations in their usual procedure and unexpected problems as they try to deliver Colins' final wish. Following on from the layout of the previous games, there is no failure state and you cannot lose the game. It is a narrative experience with a few actual gameplay elements thrown in for the purpose of interaction.
The gameplay itself is fairly minimal. Most of the game involves walking between interaction points and engaging in a few minigames that are attached to certain processes in the story. For the most part the gameplay portions work fairly well and don’t feel too out of place in comparison to the rest of the game, however, there is a segment in the late game that does feel a bit odd and may detract from the feel of the story for some people. The controls are all very simple and easy to follow with there being little chance of the player feeling lost at any point. Everything flows well and feels seamless, which lends itself well to the movement of the narrative. Towards the end, the story begins to feel somewhat shaky and the pacing falls apart a bit, but it’s all pulled back together by the time the ending sequence.
The main issues that arise with the game are in the complete absence of game options. With no volume controls and no resolution options, the first five minutes of the game experience feels fairly shoddy and extremely clunky, which sets the game up to feel disappointing. However, in this instance, the narrative and story draw you in so much that these initial flaws can be overlooked and almost forgotten as you sink into the characters and the trials that lay before them.
Finding Paradise has the same art style as To the Moon and A Bird Story. The pixel art works well for the most part, with the visuals breaking down a bit during a few close up scenes. Overall the game has a relatively simple, but lovely appearance, featuring some beautiful scenes throughout the game with much of the scene construction really adding to the dreamlike feel that pervades through the story.
Kan Gaos soundtrack for the game is exquisite. Truly superb pieces of music accompany you all the way through your adventure, exhibiting a vast amount of emotion and playing off the themes of the game extremely well. The score completes the emotional journey that Finding Paradise takes you on and puts the final pieces in an experience that leaves your heart in turmoil.
A short, but extremely enjoyable creation, do not allow the initially unprofessional appearance of Finding Paradise to turn you away from it. Although it is a bit disappointing that simple things like a volume control and resolution options aren’t present, this can be forgiven since the experience provided by this game is lovely and a wonderful follow on from the critically acclaimed To the Moon and A Bird Story.