Freebird Games has always been known for tear jerking games. Great examples would be To the Moon, A Bird Story and most recently, Finding Paradise. Yes, when it seems like everyone had long given up on the idea of the studio releasing a new tearjerker, out of the blue, Finding Paradise was announced. The game as its predecessors is done in its notable 2D graphics with beautiful art and vibrant colours.
Finding Paradise is the Sequel to one of the independent studio’s iconic games, To the Moon and A Bird Story. The story follows more of the adventures of Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts doing their jobs in fulfilling the final wishes of dying patients by altering their memories under their company, Sigmund Corp. Their job is never easy, fulfilling wishes of the sick and elderly comes with not only risk; it also comes with a very short and undecided deadline. Alongside that, the job also comes with battling moral principles against policies. What is considered to be moral and immoral? What processes must be taken to ensure that the patient achieves their wish? At what cost of morality would these doctors take to ensure their job is done?
The game starts off with a similar theme to the previous one, visiting the home of the dying patient, or rather the client. A contract between the company and the client is signed with what the client wants being stated. Often, the dying wishes of clients would be over the top, sometimes even too much. However, that was not the case this time. The client’s wish simple yet so complicated. Colin Reeds, the client, wished to live a life of no regrets yet at the same time, wanting to not alter anything in regards to his family that was ingrained in his memory. He claims to have lived a happy, full life yet, he feels empty.
The game has several plot twists – the biggest one being one that the player would never ever have expected. Truly, it was a shocker, playing the game and enjoying the usual storyline that Freebird Games usually offer only to be throttled into a different story route altogether. The plot twist was shocking yet, pleasantly so, making the player want more.
The game allows switching between Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts when they are apart. However, that feature was not widely used throughout the game – only twice, to be exact. It felt like a missed opportunity as a lot more storyline could have been used with the feature, especially with the game emphasizing on the character developments of the two main characters, especially Dr. Neil Watts.
While we do not explore too much on Dr. Eva Rosalene’s character progression through the series of games, it is very interesting Dr. Neil Watts’ character development. His personality is contrasting to Dr. Rosalene’s – childish, goofy and dorky, he is the person who adds humour to a very dark situation. The follow up of his sickness is unforgotten and still mentioned yet, not elaborated upon, which makes players eager play more the game.
The puzzles in the game were similar yet different from the previous game. It takes a bit of pattern recognizing to complete the puzzles but it was not awfully hard. I found myself accidentally completing puzzles than purposely achieving it on my own but hey, so long as it progresses the story amiright? Somewhat of a decently fast reflex and thinking is needed for certain parts of the game – I’m not eager on spoiling the best bits of the game, but if the player is a very casual player who mostly plays games on easy simply for the storyline, they might find themselves struggling just a little. However, getting through the hard bits is extremely rewarding.
Kan Gao, the composer of Freebird Games’s company, once again outdoes himself with game’s soundtrack. The signature, mellow, sad and vibrant sounds are present through the game. It is a little disappointing that he decided to continue with the similar tunes from the previous game but it is redone to be more fun and expressive. Despite that, I personally found the soundtrack of the previous games to be much preferable. However, the new theme song, “Time is a Place”, “Faye’s Theme” and a few other new original arrangements are definitely amazingly done with the right atmosphere and feel to it which enhances the storytelling of the game.
The game is a lot longer than its predecessor, To the Moon, with about a 4 to 6 hours of play time. Personally, the game took around 7 hours for me as I found myself indulging a little bit with the explorations. Certain maps were huge – as much as the storyline was linear and required the player to be at certain places, getting there was the problem. It was still amusing to have walked to the wrong side of the map and have Dr. Eva and Dr. Neil comment on it. It makes getting lost worthwhile. In usual Freebird Games fashion, the game ends with a cliffhanger to the introduction of a new game, which personally, is a smart move to make players eagerly wait for a new title from the indie company.
To sum it up, Finding Paradise perfectly aligns with the previous titles of the series done with Freebird Games, ensuring that the changes in the game that were done made sense so that the player, when they entered the game would instantly recognize and warmly reacquaint with the game and main characters once more, allowing the players to follow their character development closely.
Almost like the game and the player had never been apart. The game is guaranteed to make you cry buckets or simply tug at your heartstrings in a good way if the player is not the type to cry. If you are a casual player, like me, who enjoys a good story and a good emotional rollercoaster ride, this is definitely the game for you.
Finding Paradise was released 14th December 2017 by Freebird Games. The game is available on PC, Mac and Linux.
Tashbunny Score: 80/100