Black Paradox review – Bullet Hell Fire

Side scrolling shoot'em ups have fallen by the wayside in recent years, as the genre has declined in popularity in favour of open world games, battle Royale and even crafting games, so it's refreshing to see publisher 'Digerati' bringing us 'Black Paradox' through the 'ID@Xbox' program.

A retro-inspired, 80’s throwback with a hint of neon dressing and a cheesy announcer for the boss battles with foes such as the ‘Insane Brothers’. It sounds good, and there’s only one way to find out if it is, and that’s by reading on.

My first impression after loading the game to the main menu, is just how quintessentially 80’s the game looked, just as ‘Far Cry: Blood Dragon‘ does. It’s an unmistakable visual, and one that I can safely say put a smile on my face. I love retro, and if done right, can be a pleasure to experience.

A Far Cry from It’s Genre?

Thankfully, Black Paradox falls into this category well and provides a thoroughly enjoyable experience as you hunt down each bounty the game has to offer you. Saying that it’s more than your typical side-scrolling shooter, Black Paradox is also a rogue-lite game.

So once you die, you get to start all over from the beginning again. Any skills you’ve saved up to buy are kept thankfully, and you can continue to grind out cash to buy better and improved upgrades to make your subsequent runs a little bit easier.

Gameplay is kept as simple as possible. A button to shoot, another to switch weapons, one more to pick up new weapons and your triggers to activate a special mode whereby a replica of your ship appears to unleash a barrage of firepower against your foes.

Choose Your Weapon!

The selection of weapons, while I’m on the subject, is varied enough, and can make all the difference if you pick one of the better weapons up early on. A corrosive shot can make quick work of asteroids and enemies alike, resulting in The gameplay quickly dispersing and resulting in a clear path for you to pass safely by.

Another reference to the iconic ’80s is the fact that your ship flying through space isn’t actually a ship at all, but what closely resembles a DeLorean that navigates the vacuum of space with its doors raised. Yes, that’s right. The doors are open. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I am quite certain that space is not only a vacuum but also rather cold. Perhaps the devs know this and are just being rather silly, or maybe they don’t know. I’ll go with the former here just to be on the safe side.

Sounds Good!

The soundtrack really struck me as one of the best points of the game, without wanting to sound like I’m bashing other aspects, of course, the game is great fun to play but the audio was fun to listen to while blasting away the enemies.

The whole package is genuinely fun and well put together, offering longevity and excellent replay value which for fans of the genre is appealing as it means the initial outlay of money will feel worth it. The difficulty is a little tough at first, but given that upgrades will start to be affordable after a few good runs, the chance at progressing further increases the more you upgrade your health, attack power and the like. I guess you could call it a sense of pride and accomplishment for all of your hard work.


Graphics: 7
Presentation: 7
Gameplay: 8
Sound: 8

Overall Score: 7.5 / 10

As a whole package, Black Paradox has on offer all you could want from an Indie game in the genre. It’s fun to play, simple controls to learn, a retro-neon aesthetic and a synth-based soundtrack which to blast away with. Worth a purchase for fans, and even those curious. There’s far worse out there and you could do with keeping an eye out for Black Paradox.

Format: Xbox One (Reviewed), PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch
Price: £12.49 (Microsoft Store)
Publisher: Digerati Distribution
Developer: Fantastico Studio
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 03/05/19

Review copy provided by publisher


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