Game Review: Paranautical Activity (PS Vita)

I grew up on “Duke Nukem 3D” and “Doom”. I’m a product of the 90s, through and through. So when I saw “Paranautical Activity” coming to Vita, I was on board instantly. An FPS, inspired by said titles, but with randomly generated rooms? Where do I sign?

I have to say though, from the off, that it’s a bit disturbing that when you look the game up online, you get a lot of articles explaining the fact that the game’s original developer went Apocalypse Now on Steam. The game has since been taken over by Digerati, who are delightfully lovely people, though! I won’t comment on that, as it’s been a while and everything that could be said about it, has been said. But I have to admit that it was constantly in the back of my mind as I got ready to play the game.

And then I started to play the game, and instantly forgot. You see, the thing about “Paranautical Activity” is that it’s absolutely ruthless: even when you play as “The Tank” (which gives your character more health and damage-dealing, but cuts down on speed), you’re still going to die faster than Michael Bay can say “let’s ruin another 1980s cartoon”.

The experience itself is very minimal: there are a few “character traits” that you can choose from (The Tank, David Bowie, etc), which alter your character’s stats. You choose the one you want, and off you go. They all come with different weapons, although the frantic gameplay sometimes makes it difficult to appreciate the nuances of each.

Looks like my ex is an NPC, too!
Looks like my ex is an NPC, too!

The rooms are not all procedurally generated, though. The content of them are, however, and it’s usually a mix of floor-flying sharks and other nasty things that will kill you almost instantly.

Having said, I didn’t feel like the game was cheap or unfair. It was absolutely hardcore (even in the easiest of settings), and definitely frustrating. But it wasn’t cheap. And I applaud it for that.

I have to admit that the “loading” screen at the beginning of each room was a bit annoying. I’m sure it has to do with the way the game moves forward if you’re super-human enough not to die after you buy the first upgrade (through which you’ve barely survived in the first place), but I wish everything was generated before I got into the rooms, so that I could just start killing things (or rather, be killed by things).

If it was done in games like Rogue Legacy, I’m sure it could have been done here. Or maybe not, I’m not a developer.

Graphically speaking, the game is a wonderful mix of the FPS pioneers of the MS-DOS era and… Minecraft? The colors are really vibrant and it runs like butter on hot toast: silky smooth.

Story? Well, this isn’t really that kind of game. It’d be like asking a story out of Pac-Man or Solitaire. I mean, I’m sure something like that has been done, because $money$, but not here. Here, you come to kill or be killed. Mostly the latter.

So is her mom!
So is her mom!

Music and sound effects are… well, I’m not exactly sure. When I was playing, I tried paying attention to them but I kept dying to quickly to notice. Suffice it to say they were not obtrusive.

All in all, I don’t think I’m the right audience for “Paranautical Activity”. And it’s not the game’s fault: I’m 30 years old and while I can still rock with the Duke, the Call of Duty generation runs rings around me when it comes to FPS.

And that’s fine.

The fact that I am horrible at playing this game hasn’t stopped me from recognizing the fact that it’s a very well executed project. And when it clicks with someone, I’m sure it’ll be one hell of a match. For me, it was the FPS from hell. If you’re better than me at shooting things, then by all means, try your hand at killing these damn floor-sharks.

I dare you. I double dare you @#$@!#$%@#$%.

  • Title: Paranautical Activity
  • Publisher: Digerati Distribution
  • Developer: Digerati / Code Avarice
  • Format: PSN Download
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 535mb

Vita Player Rating - 07

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About Marcos Codas 289 Articles
Lover of portable gaming and horror cinema. Indie filmmaker and game developer. Multimedia producer. Born in Paraguay, raised in Canada. Huge fan of "The Blair Witch Project", and "Sonic 3D Blast". Deputy head at Vita Player and its parent organization, Infinite Frontiers.Like what I do? Donate a coffee: https://www.paypal.me/marcoscodas

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