Title: Paranautical Activity - Deluxe Atonement Edition

Platform: Windows, Steam, Xbox One, PS4, PSVita, Wii U

Reviewed on: Xbox One

Genre: Roguelite, FPS

Players: Single player

Written by Jack 29th April 2016

Every now and then there will always be games that get taken down or tainted due to events surrounding them that have nothing to do with the games themselves. Paranautical Activity is one such game that after being sold off can hopefully detach itself from the controversy that surrounded one of its co-founder’s questionable social media practices. Now coming to the Xbox One and Wii U, Paranautical Activity is a first person shooter reminiscent of the classics like Doom and Quake, and adds a humorous spin that sees you explore through eight semi-procedural floors of a monster infested ship, similar to The Binding of Isaac games.

The game starts off with the choice of classic, hardcore or infinite game modes. After choosing a game mode, you can choose from the four characters The Tank, Gorton, Dy-No-Mite, and David Bowie each with their own stats and starting weapons. Each character fits a different playstyle so you’ll need to decide whether you favour speed, damage, or health.

The objective of the game is to pass through each floor, frantically clearing rooms filled with aggressive enemies until you find the main boss. Upon the way you will discover rooms that include mini stores and gun swaps that can potentially make or break your current playthrough. Should you manage you survive the barrage of enemy rooms you’ll find the bosses are as to be expected, far more challenging and a creative highlight of the game. There are two boss rooms on each floor, the main boss and a mini boss. Mini bosses are optional and yield additional power-ups; defeating the main boss will nab you the boss’s unique ability and unlocks the elevator to the next floor. Taking damage though feels incredibly punishing as health drops are scarce and taking on countless different enemies can be brutal for the unacquainted. I personally found choosing one of the speedy characters far more challenging as they tended to take about as much damage as a wet paper back before dropping to the floor. Player’s more use to twitch reflex shooters will find themselves right at home with these characters but the Tank’s high health and damage was the only one I found viable.

There are two slots for weapons, primary and special. The primary weapon has unlimited ammo but the special is limited and ammo pick ups are dropped from killing enemies. Starting weapons range from a crossbow, a grenade launcher with a tenchi sword, a shotgun with a cannon or a sickle with the blowfish gun. As you delve deeper into the floors you can also find other weapons such as a plasma gun or even Poseidon's Trident. Though if you don’t happen to pick one of the two characters with melee weapons or find one there’s no way to deal with enemies that get up close as there’s no default melee attack and you can’t defend yourself quickly enough from being hit. To deal with this I felt forced to replace either my primary or special with one of the few melee weapon which just limits player choice. It feel’s like the devs should have included a melee attack independant from your weapon choice even if it was just a simple gun butt that deals pushback damage.

The enemies in the game were the most enjoyable feature for me. At one point I found myself double jumping around a room with only a sickle, screaming, while two angry flying turtles launched rockets at me. There are over forty different types of enemies throughout the game, but unfortunately I couldn’t get passed the third floor so I only got to see about ten of them. Still I found myself battling all kinds of enemies including demons, ninjas, land sharks, strange jawa like creatures, angry moths and of course the flying turtles. The bosses, as you would expect, are designed differently and more creatively from the standard enemies. They came in many forms including a monstrous whale and a giant skull that spews forth spiders, which suffering from arachnophobia, I found this one to be my least favourite. Boss difficulty feels disappointingly erratic, while some bosses were dumbfoundingly easy there would always be the some that I couldn’t beat no matter how many times I encountered them through different playthroughs. There’s plenty of enemies and bosses that offer a great amount of variety, but they’re overly punishing even on the first few floors.

It would be unfair of me to say that Paranautical Activity is a terrible game just because I wasn’t very successful at it. The game as a whole is well developed, interesting and humorous. So overall Paranautical Activity is a decent addition to the Xbox One's marketplace, it’s just that I find it difficult to recommend to anyone other than those who enjoy punishing roguelite titles.


Interesting Weapons,

Humorous enemy designs,

Variety in abilities and power ups.


Lacklustre soundtrack,

Overly difficult boss fights,

Repetitious despite procedural generation.

Final verdict,

Paranautical Activity scores a lukewarm 6 out of 10.

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