By: Ted Chow
I was openly optimistic going into Paranormal Pursuit: The Gifted One about its premise. For a game that relies on the puzzles and interaction with the environment, Paranormal Pursuit does a good job in offering some brain-stimulating challenges. If you enjoy a slower paced game that revolves around puzzles, as opposed to action packed gameplay, then Paranormal Pursuit is a great game to tax your brain juices.
Paranormal Pursuit is a low activity game for the hands as the majority of your time is more about being mindful of your surroundings and the idea of discovery. You’ll mainly be watching cutscenes and interacting with the environment to pick up key items to move the plot along. Aside from that, you’ll move around the chapter in order to solve multi-tiered puzzles that may require some back and forth action and a high sense of awareness. Overall, you’ll be spending a lot of time moving the analog stick in circles to highlight places of interest within the scene.
It was very surprising to see that there was some quality production value in the graphics department for Paranormal Pursuit. The chapters have well painted interactive scenes that feel like a visual novel. The subtle movements of the environment, as well as the characters, gave the static visual look some depth and life. The 3D cutscenes were also well presented with good effort going into the animations, though it could feel a bit unnatural at times. The soundtrack was also pretty standard with no real issues, but nothing praise worthy, either.
Paranormal Pursuit is one of those games where you act like a detective to help the main protagonist through certain road blocks and challenges. Most of the time you’ll be moving the analog stick around to pinpoint items of interest that will help you solve puzzles that impede the progress of the plot.
Certain puzzles can take some time to figure out and may not always be the most obvious at times. You will occasionally have to search obscure areas, combine key items together and every now and then have the child (Kevin) use his psychic powers. Depending on your patience level, you may also decide to click on the hints icon to help steer you in the right direction. This feature will become less available to the player depending on the difficulty you choose.
Beyond the detective aspect and puzzles, the story is a pivotal point in providing the player with the motivation to continue moving forward. You take on the role of Samantha, a child protection services agent that gets an anonymous call from a certain psychic individual to help him escape his abusive stepfather.
The game will take you to strange and interesting locals that stretch the border of reality and fantasy. While the game does feel grounded in reality, as presented in the animated cutscenes, the art style that conveys the actual gameplay is a bit looser in its interpretation of what is real and what is make believe. This offers a bit of an interesting contrast to the game’s aesthetic that weirdly keeps you invested in the story. And without multiplayer or additional game modes, this was a point that needed to be driven home, and, for the most part, it succeeded in capturing my intrigue.
With the majority of the game focusing on the story and puzzles as the main draw, the rest is largely optional to give some artificial goals to your initial playthrough. Achievements and collections can help you put more hours into the game if you aim to be a completionist, but it really is just minor extra content without a huge investment on the developer’s part.
Different difficultly levels can be played and unlocked if you want a more challenging experience in the form of having less hints available. Overall, you will probably have seen it all after your initial run, making hints and clues rather moot.
While Paranormal Pursuit: The Gifted One isn’t the type of game I’d play for my gaming fix, it was a solid experience nonetheless. Its biggest strength is the puzzles and the fact that I can’t brute force my way through the plot like most games. It’s worth playing through the story once for its novelty; anything more than that will solely be based on the individual.