PAX Online 2020 Highlight – Paradise Lost

Posted on September 21, 2020

Paradise Lost is the debut title from developer PolyAmorous, set within an alternate universe where WW2 never ended and lasted for a further 20 years before the inevitable nuclear disaster.

This game is a slow, walking-simulator type experience, in the same vein as What Remains of Edith Finch or Gone Home, so despite the setting, do not go in expecting Metro Exodus type gameplay. This is a game in which you are the creator of your own path, putting together clues in your head from the setting and remnants of the areas you explore, trying to determine the events that have unfolded.

The demo of Paradise Lost, available thanks to PAX Online’s event on Steam, allows you to traverse a small section of the game, walking around an apparently abandoned train station to discover notes and clues within the world as to what may have occurred here. At first, the art-style of the environments had a slight ‘Metro’ aesthetic, but as I delved deeper it morphed into an aesthetic more akin to Bioshock. The graphics and scenery just beg to be explored, with the locales offering plenty to look at and inspect to gain a further understanding of this world.

The notes left scattered around the world of Paradise Lost provide an insight into the bleak world where Nazis reigned supreme and sought to build a bunker to outlive the nuclear fallout. There was a multitude of notes that I found closed off with “Heil Hitler”, with a couple even detailing the need for Aryan only blood to be admitted into the bunkers to keep the ongoing population pure. Each new note I stumbled across or found hidden away always provided a sense of delight and dread at what the note could provide further detail on.

The atmosphere felt tense, with only the slightest hint of music to elevate certain interactions. Other than those occasional moments of music, the game provides a desolate and silent feeling world, with nothing more than the breath of your character to keep you company.You are in control of figuring out the story, by exploring and taking in the designs and features of each area, by reading the scattered notes and whiteboards, and by paying attention to every little detail laying around. Only then will you have an understanding of this Paradise Lost.

The game’s Steam page describes the story as follows; “You are Szymon, a 12-year-old survivor, wandering the barren, nuclear wasteland of Poland, struggling to process your grief and searching for hope when you come across a massive, abandoned Nazi bunker.”

I find these types of methodical and slow games to be interesting, but only if the setting and story capture my attention, I mean that’s the main reason anyone plays these types of interactive games. The demo provided enough to capture my attention, and yet leave me longing for more, wondering what else may lay ahead in the full release for me to try and piece together.

Where did everyone go? How did this seemingly simple feat of creating a bunker turn out so wrong? What truth will I eventually come across? All questions I cannot wait to have answers for.

Paradise Lost doesn’t have a release date yet but is set for a 2020 release window, so no doubt we will soon have information on this.