Release Date: October 27, 2022 (North America)
Publishers: Aksys Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
500 years in the future, the world as we know it has become uninhabitable. The remaining humans live in colonies, artificial environments surrounded by looming walls and a simulated sky. But rumor has it if you’re out past curfew, you may cross paths with a deadly monster…
High schooler Yuuki is as average as they come. She enjoys a mundane life of school, friendships, and generally being uninterested in boys, until one day she finds herself outside after curfew and face to face with a horrific monster known as a Vector.
Just as all seems lost, Yuuki is saved by four female superheroes and is invited to join them to protect the colony from the Vector threat!
Join Yuuki on her journey to uncover the mysteries of the Vectors, her newfound powers, and her growing popularity with the boys at school!
-(From Aksys Games Paradigm Paradox Teaser)
ART AND MUSIC
|Director: Mao Seki|
|Overall Illustrator: Natsuo, Tsubata Nozaki (Chibis)|
|Scenario Writer: 夕月 “Yuzuki”|
|OP/ED Themes performed by: 8P|
- The scenario writer for Paradigm Paradox, Yuzuki has also worked as one of the writers for Shuuen no Virche, and Hypnosis Mic (Alternative Rap Battle).
- Paradigm Paradox is a collaboration project between Otomate and 8P, with the members of 8P voicing mostly the game’s love interests.
Atsushi Kosaka as “Kamui“ – Jirou Aoki (Tengai ni Mau Iki na Hana), Greece (Hetalia: Beautiful World), Bernardo (Luckydog1), Lorelei (Another Prince: A Lost Tale)
Junya Enoki as “Mihaya” – Ryuki (Cupid Parasite), Horikawa Kunihiro (Touken Ranbu), Dill (Nekopara Catboy Paradise), Luka Clemence (IkeRev), Chisato Tachibana (CxM Unlimited), Zafora (Radiant Tale)
Shouya Chiba as “Ayumu“ – Hugo Spencer (even IF TEMPEST), Hairi Takahara (Summer Pockets), Shinobu Osaka (Crank In), Pollon (ANONYMOUS;CODE), Makio Tanihara (Horimiya)
Taku Yashiro as “Tokio“ – Raul (Cupid Parasite) , Buzen Go (Touken Ranbu), Sumiya (Dynamic Chord), Dazai (IkeVamp), Adolphe (Shuuen no Virche), Goemon Ishikawa (Tengoku Struggle)
Sho Nogami as “Ibuki“ – Passy (Code Realize: Future Blessings), Dromi (Café Enchanté), Ken Sadoka (A3!), Howard Mitchell (even IF TEMPEST), Unka Geisbert (Tokeijikake no Apocalypse)
Arthur Lounsbery as “Hyuga“ – Toa Quifer (Court of Darkness), Yoru (EROSION), Shigeo Yamada (Masamune-kun’s Revenge), Toshinobu Eisaka (Sympathy Kiss)
Tasuku Hatanaka as “Yukinami“ – Rune (even IF TEMPEST), Shez (Fire Emblem Three Hopes), Kumon (A3!), Nozomi Kira (Kenka Banchou Otome), Gouro (Genshin), Chargebolt (MHA)
Takeaki Masuyama as “Ryo“ – Eldrie Woolsburg (Sword Art Online), Lionel Mauser (GEARS of DRAGOON 2)
Komada Wataru as “Masaki“ – Iruma Jyuto (Hypnosis Mic), Narrator (Bustafellows), Nagusa (Olympia Soiree), Fennel (Nekopara Catboys Paradise), Kiyohiko (Winter’s Wish)
Paradigm Paradox has a total of eight romanceable characters! That’s eight routes you’ll need to go through in addition to the game’s Grand Finale, which is also a separate route. You can only play Kamui, Mihaya, Ayumu, Tokio, Hyuga, and Yukinami at the start of the game. Ibuki’s route unlocks after your third playthrough, and Ryo’s route unlocks after finishing Ibuki’s. The Grand Finale unlocks after clearing all of the previous eight.
There’s no implemented route order from the devs, but if you’re worried about story flow, my ‘soft’ route order suggestion is: (from least to greatest in terms of plot spoilers) Kamui → Mihaya → Ayumu → Tokio → Hyuga → Yukinami → Ibuki → Ryo → Grand Finale. You can also mix up your route order by simultaneously playing 2 sets of heroes followed by 2 villains, one after another. In this case, my suggestion would be: Kamui → Mihaya → Hyuga = Yukinami → Ayumu → Tokio → Ibuki → Ryo.
I personally, don’t think route order matters in this game, but I do wanna point out that Ibuki and Ryo had the most plot spoilers, hence, their routes are locked from the start.
- green tea enjoyer
A high schooler in class 3-B, who’s always surrounded by girls, hence his “playboy” reputation. While he may look predictably simple at first glance, he carries baggage that he only keeps for himself. Kamui is also very kind and very generous to everyone he meets. He transforms into “Sena”, whose unique ability is foresight.
I was quite surprised by how much I liked Kamui’s route more than I expected. He was adorkable and very kind to the heroine, and their bonding moments were delightful to watch. I also enjoyed his little backstory. His gilf of a grandpa raised him so well.😌 It was also touching how he tries to do his all as Sena of the Blooms just to see everyone in Theta safe. And while he carried with him a gloomy past, he never trauma-dumped his baggage on the heroine, unlike the other guys, and to me, that’s what made his route stand out from the rest.
- tsun tsun
- kansai-ben magical girl
Mihaya is a high schooler in class 1-A. He’s a year younger than the heroine and is perceived as a loner by the other students. He’s mostly seen reading in the library all by himself. Because of his past, he’s learned not to trust people so easily. He transforms into “Moka”, who has the ability to steal an enemy’s powers.
I think I’ve enjoyed this route too? or perhaps I was just biased since Junya Enoki voiced him.😅 (laughs) Similar to Kamui’s route, he and the heroine worked as a team here, and I thought they had some solid moments together that made their teen romance believable, so I can’t exactly complain as far as that aspect. Mihaya and Yuki went through the same ordeal and were able to confide in each other through that common ground, so I thought their chemistry was kind of nice. Their last confession scene was super! Apart from that, the other events on this route were unfortunately forgettable.
- siscon 🤢
Ayumu is the student council president who’s in class 2-C. Because of his upstanding reputation at school, he’s pretty popular among girls. He acts very principled because of his status in the academy; however, the only people he consigns himself to are his best friend Tokio, and his younger sister, who he overly dotes on a regular basis. He transforms into Haruka, who has the ability of pyrokinesis.
Rarely, do I ever get repulsed by an otome route, but apparently there’s a first time for everything huh?🙄 It’s surprising since I’m not usually someone who gets squicked by anything, but oh man, this route really pushed all my buttons. Ayumu’s constant sister-simping in front of the heroine was just all sorts of uncomfortable. Who in their right mind thought this was cute? Not only was his sister complex creepy af; he was also a jerk to the heroine, and even when he transformed into Haruka, he deliberately tried to physically hurt her all because Yuki was growing close to his younger sister. Bro, can you not?!🤬 Kudos to the heroine, Yuki, who consistently called him out on his BS.
The romance here was also extremely abrupt. Ayumu’s mood changes from completely being hostile to Yuki to liking her in a span of just a day, was so awkward. I’m not buying it! I would’ve appreciated it if he remained cutthroat through and through, but nope! His backstory was supposed to be sad, but I just couldn’t care for it. Not even his kiss CG (which kinda looked decent) saved this route. No thank you. In to the waste bin you go!🚮
- student genius
Tokio is the brightest, most intelligent student in the academy and possibly in the entire colony of Theta. He spends his time mostly in the chemistry lab conducting his research and experiment. He rarely gets any rest for himself, so he’s normally seen sleeping in class. He’s also very stoic and speaks logically when conversing with others. He transforms into Kaori, the leader of the Blooms, whose special ability is hypnosis.
I believe Kaori was my favorite magical girl, both in looks and personality. She’s so cute!😊 It’s funny how her character’s nature hugely differs from Tokio’s actual impassive persona. But I totally dig it. It was never really explained in detail why all four guys’ personalities changed when they turned into their magical girl form. But then again, a lot of things in this game were left unexplained anyway, so… (shrug)🤷♀️ As for Tokio’s route, it was alright. While I think Kaori/Tokio &Yuki make a pretty good tag team, it wasn’t anything memorable of the sort. His route probably had the most revelations among the Blooms (justice side), and I thought his CGs were gorgeous!
- Hyuga with hoodie 😒 < Hyuga w/o hoodie 😳
Hyuga is a mysterious man whom Yuki bumps into around the business district of Theta. He is usually seen with Yukinami. Both of them exhibit a threatening aura when around.
The only facet I liked about this route was Hyuga’s house-husband quirks (and maybe his unhooded sprite).😏 The rest of this route was a big ‘ol exposition dump, and it wasn’t even that interesting. Hyuga’s flip-floppy attitude was also a huge turn-off for me. I just couldn’t deal with LIs physically assaulting the heroine for the sake of plot devices that don’t make any sense. It’d be one thing if the character had any depth, but no – his revenge arc lacked breadth and objective. Hyuga’s character pretty much feels like an NPC instead of an actual love interest. Yuki and Hyuga had no chemistry whatsoever, and the romance here kind of just happens out of nowhere. It’s just bizarre.
- unhinged 😬
Yukinami is another mysterious lad who Yuki bumps into the business district and continues to come across in town. He’s very whimsical by nature and will rush into whatever interests him without a second thought. He is usually seen with Hyuga, but unlike Hyuga, he acts very immature and childish.
Yet, another horrible route with another horrible LI. I’m sorry, but there’s just nothing likable about Yukinami. Oftentimes, he acts very childish and genki. In fact, he’s too genki; it’s borderline unsettling.😬 Being around him is like walking on eggshells; you never know what sets him off. For the most part, the heroine is legit scared of him, and rightfully so – the dude is creepy as hell and not in a sexy way. A ridiculous amount of his route was spent repeating whatever exposition-dumping that happened in Hyuga’s route. He also makes this maniacal threat of wanting to fight the heroine and then proceeds to choke her and chase her around. I swear the dude is batshit nuts! We get a bit of backstory of why he acts this way a.k.a. more exposition and exacerbated trauma dumps. I really couldn’t care less at this point. The romance also kind of just happens all of a sudden.🤷♀️
A mysterious character with an uncanny air around him. He has a gentle demeanor and occasionally speaks to Yuki with cryptic information, which the heroine finds ambiguous. He transforms into Moravia, a strange girl who comes and goes out of Theta, and who always seems to carry herself confidently without fear.
Ibuki was the only decent character among the villains in the game. This route will also let you in on more information about the heroine’s identity. Who she is, and why she has superpowers. I loved that the heroine was badass here; even though she knew she’d be no match for Moravia; she continued to train herself profusely just in case she needed to fight her. Ibuki and Yuki’s chemistry kind of worked for me as well. Unfortunately, his route stopped being interesting the moment they crammed his last chapters with more lore text dumps. A few scenario decisions did not make sense to me either, and nothing was really resolved during Ibuki’s ending.
A maintenance worker in the academy who randomly pops in and out of the campus. Yuki and her classmates have started this urban legend-esque narrative that whoever finds him will be blessed with good fortune. Ryo is also friends with Yuki’s chemistry teacher, Kuramori Masaki, who happens to be the commander in charge of the “Blooms”.
I’m not really sure why Ryo was given a route, to begin with. This was so honestly random. There’s absolutely zero chemistry between him and the heroine. The romance was too forced, too awkward, and very uncomfortable. It was so baffling why the heroine suddenly became keenly interested in Ryo when they’d only gotten to know each other within the last 24 hours.🥴 Half of the time Ryo wasn’t even there on his route. It was just Yuki *trying to mope and figure things out*. This route’s plot twists were also ridiculous and asinine. They went into this elaborate goose chase only to arrive with a very simple resolution that could’ve been done either way if they had just sat around and talked. lol Gosh, I feel like I’m being too harsh here. In all honestly, I did like Ryo as an NPC but… a love interest, he was not!
YUKI TAKANASHI (Main Heroine)
Yuki is an ordinary 16-year-old high schooler who’s in class 2-A. She lives in the academy dormitory with her best friend, Lize. One day, due to a fateful incident, she was attacked by a Vector (colony monster) which surprisingly triggered her powers that transformed her into a magical girl. She then learns that there are other magical girls in the academy who possess similar powers as hers.
It actually took a while for me to warm up with Yuki. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough concrete growth in her character that made me keen to root for her all the way. She was alright though. Because of her supernatural powers, she was pretty badass on some routes. What really stuck with me was when she got sassy and combative during Ayumu’s route. I loved that she was constantly calling him out, and fighting him for being a douchebag. I also liked her for being extra cautious during Ibuki and Yukinami’s route. Yuki does try her best for the most part, and I feel like she could’ve been more fleshed out if the story allowed her to. Sometimes, I feel like her motivations were half-baked and I blame the writing for this.
I think Yuki probably just needed a little bit of nuance to add some refinement to her character. Her special ability was “augment” which is akin to buffers on priest/cleric/support-caster classes in RPGs – and it would’ve been interesting if they explored this factor more. Add some nicety to the heroine’s powers and make her master and improve this special skill set as part of the story. Unfortunately, there was none of that here either.
SYSTEM AND LOCALIZATION
Probably one of the best aspects of Paradigm Paradox was how comfortable its system was. The UI was very clean, not to mention very pretty, and the game was also user-friendly. Navigating through it became such a breeze. The “skip to next choice” option was a godsend, among other factors that they’ve done right with the game’s interface. I’ve also wanted to commend how tasteful the flowchart looked. More times than not, I’ve noticed Otomate’s flowcharts aren’t really the apex of their titles 😄 (laughs). This one, on the other hand, was an exception.
Another thing that was pristinely done in Paradigm Paradox was the game’s localization. I could barely spot any text errors, and the dialogues of the characters were translated fairly well. Kudos to Anne Lee from Chic Pixel, who helped proofread this game!😘 I would love to see more titles from Aksys Games with localization as good as this one in their next roster of games!😊
Even though the game showcased nine routes in total (Grand Finale included), it didn’t take me that long to finish the entire game. I spent around 30-40 hours unlocking every possible ending in Paradigm Paradox. This also includes reading all the short story scenes in the “Activity Reports”. Each route also took me at least 3 hours to finish (and I wasn’t even rushing it). Yes, they were that short.
A Gender-bending Magical-Girl, Bait and Switch?
One of the many issues I had with the game was that it promised a very fun concept of the LIs turning into cute magical girls. That notion alone is very appealing to a lot of players (most especially in the West). But what bothered me was that none of this was really explored, nor was it given a great deal of emphasis in the story. It’s as if the concept was just there to bait the audience who enjoys this kind of media. Think about it. If you took the ‘magical-girl‘ aspect out of the picture, it wouldn’t affect the game that much, (the boys can just be heroes in their male form) and the entire story will remain as is.🤷♀️ What’s even worse was that there are not enough scenes with the LIs in their magical girl forms. More times than not, it’s just a mere 2-3 minutes of them doing minuscule fighting with the mobs. The fight scenes weren’t engaging either. It was more like “Magical girl1 used hypnosis, and bam! Monster is dead” or “I use augment to support my teammates, and we won! Monster gone!” There wasn’t any kind of intensity or zest to heighten these scenarios. The writing was just too dull. It was kind of sad.
The same goes for the gender-bending aspect of the game. I felt kind of betrayed when this wasn’t expanded. It would’ve been interesting if they played around with this concept, but nope! Also, I wouldn’t say this was the first otome game that used this particular trope. There already exist a few titles that had LIs transforming into female characters (with supernatural powers). Watase Yuu’s Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden (one of the first otome games I’ve played) was probably the OG to come up with this idea.
Paradigm Paradox also suffered greatly from pacing issues. The majority of the routes carry a plethora of exposition dumps, one after another. It’s like a chunk of the plot was handed out to the player by letting a character explain what happened through text dumps instead of it naturally happening over time in the game. Admittedly, I thought the sci-fi premise had potential because it honestly looked good on paper. But how everything was executed was a total flop.
The whopping eight routes seemed more of a punishment than a reward. With how lackluster the writing is, this title really became a chore to finish.
The endings were very abrupt as well. It’s as if they didn’t know where it was going and kind of just left it at that. There was no proper conclusion, and even the grand finale made me wonder if the “big conflict” was indeed resolved or if that whole repetitive shebacle was all for naught. lol With how everything was rushed, it left no room for the characters to grow and have some sort of development. Thusly, not giving me any reason to root for them. Resulting in most of the LIs left to be desired. The villainous routes, (Hyuga, Yukinami, and Ryo) especially took the brunt of this, unfortunately. Perhaps if they would’ve cut down the routes by half and spent those extra hours fleshing out the love interests, the story could’ve been better.
The lack of romance was also very disappointing. To me, it was really only the routes of Kamui, Mihaya, Tokio, and maybe Ibuki that stood out in this department. The others either pissed me off or left a bad taste in my mouth due to the lack of chemistry between them and the heroine. Some of the LIs were written to be extreme jerks from the beginning too (Ayumu, for example). And because of this, there’s no recovery from it, no matter how much they play up the sudden “lovey-dovey-uwu” scenes in the last chapters. It just felt too forced, if anything.
Do I recommend this game? Hmm…maybe?
I really wanted to like this game so much. I mean, for one, I’m really glad the seiyuus, 8P, gets more exposure through this medium. But with the monotonous plot and lack of romance as an otome game, Paradigm Paradox, unfortunately, failed to hold my interest as a player. Perhaps if you can forgive the flaws I’ve stated above, I believe you can still enjoy this game, especially if you just wanted a short read to pass the time. I’m pretty positive as well that there’d be at least two or three characters you’d enjoy from this title too.
I wouldn’t readily recommend this to veteran players of the genre who are very particular with story flow and plot consistency in their games. However, if you’re just in it to ogle on cute boys and see them transform into pretty magical girlies, then yes, by all means! While this title wasn’t for me, I firmly believe it’s still decent enough to cater to others. So feel free to give this one a chance.