So I bought this game solely based on the fact that it was published by Screen 7, the same company that published The Cat Lady, a fantastic point and click adventure in the same vein as this one. Despite this my hopes weren't set too high. See, I don't play these puzzlegames very often. And if I do, I mostly look up solutions if I don't find them myself within a certain amount of time, depending on how patient I feel that day. I couldn't do that here, so at points it was a scramble to find somebody who could help me(which I am ever so grateful for, grateful to the ones that helped me in moments of desperation). At points it was mindlessly trying every possible combination of items and move-sets to get things to work. This game was hard. I mean, it switched between real world logic and videogame logic in a way that really kept you on your toes - or made you bash your face repeatedly into a wall. This game is intelligent, especially when it comes to puzzle design. Every puzzle I didn't get at first, but later figured out(when I did it on my own), made me impressed by the way the game designer set it up. It wasn't a case of finding out what you missed and then feeling like an idiot(not as much as some games make you feel, at least).
There are parts of this game where I felt the need to write down symbols to crack a code, in real life. One could say I got invested into my character, immersed, even! Although I am not too sure how necessary it was, but post-FEZ I have a tendency to write down ciphers games give me. I truly love how games give you a mindset that you can use throughout the whole game. Where there are audial timings, visual timings, that takes play in the puzzles. Which is useful to have in mind during the whole game. The Samaritan Paradox doesn't drop parts of itself. It's a neat parcel. Puzzlegames can easily feel contrived at points, but this game didn't suffer from that same nuisance. Everything felt organic and was explained through story and environment.
We play as the suitably named Ord(Ord means Word in Swedish). He is a cryptologist working on his Ph.D, only he's lost all momentum. His life is boring, he spends the days vacantly listening to the vapid, dull voices coming from the TV. As we get reign of his movement, we decide to check the newspaper. A famous author committed suicide! It happens to be the same author that our friend (Magnus) conveniently gave us a book from, making us recognize the name. We call Magnus and tell him about this code we found in the first page of the book, you know, being a cryptologist and all, it happens. Not contrived. He suggests we should contact the authors daughter and let her know of this amazing find! "There's one more", as in one more posthumous book from said author. Ord contacts her and with his trustful face, gets her(Sara) to hire him, as her very own professional puzzle solver. With a supportive friend, and his well-meaning wish to give us back our lack of momentum through deadly adventure, we are unstoppable.
The Samaritan Paradox, it's all in the name really. Being this righteous, ivory tower-moral guider, being this way because of guilt. Making it the Samaritan Paradox. One is only good because of the blood that has already been drawn. It takes an act of evil to become lawful good. And when this moral highroad is nothing but a series of half-baked ideas and semi-researched claims, what good is the actual good side? The game doesn't say much beyond this, I suppose it doesn't have to. The game does leave you with a lot of questions, is the momentum from this adventure enough to fuel his thesis? Will the emotional damage Sara runs away from never come back to haunt her? Will suppression and delirium make reality less pungent? What happened with Magnus and the dinner date? What about the thesis? And the unpayed bills? I guess thinking too much about it doesn't change what's actually there. In the games universe everything ended happily ever after. The mirror image of reality based gameplay with reality based story would be nice, to me. But then again, only for the sake of symmetry. At times things may work out, lives can be lived happily in worlds of violence and corruption. Just try not to be cognizant of them. Spewing vague criticism is so much more fun. It makes you a good person. Everything is starting to feel like a paradox now.
This game is a corroborative delight. A hard and frustrating delight. Piquant visual style and, in truth, at points beautiful. Clever writing and puzzles that are always challenging are to be expected. I was not let down by this purchase. It took me the whole day to complete, and what a day it's been. It was exciting, truly. An intriguing detective story mixed with a fantasy side-story paralleled with the real one. A metaphorical storyline beside the real, adding a whole new layer to the game. A nice escape from the mundane cityscapes, it kept the game fresh and provided some real nice landscapes.
Apart from some of the voice acting(which is to be expected from a lower-budget title), everything was excellent. If you are not too put off by the pixel art I would wholeheartedly recommend this game, it's cheap and it has at least 8 hours in it, if you solve puzzles quickly. Enjoy!
By the way, be aware of some bugs that could make progressing weird, save the game as often as conveniently possible, if things seem wrong, they probably are.