User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 17
  3. Negative: 5 out of 17

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  1. Sep 5, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I loved the idea behind this game, and jumped at the chance to purchase it as part of an indie games pack. What I found was sorely disappointing. First up, it advertises itself as a procedural haunting game, where things are different in each play-through. This would be an absolute lie if not for the fact that the random haunting events are triggered rapidly on a Random Number Generator style basis, with no regard for narrative or effect. In my ten playthroughs, the story has been exactly the same, only with the various 'spooky things' happening randomly like at the result of a rolled dice.

    The 'mystery' of the haunting was entirely static, and not much of a mystery given that there are sheets of paper out completely in the open throughout the house, each one giving details on the history of the abused family in the house's past. How is this even a mystery? Did the main character research all this stuff, leave print-outs everywhere, then become an overnight amnesiac? Even some of the haunting events are completely static. For instance, one of the very few rooms in the house is the garage area, and yet every time I walked in there, the car turned itself on and blinked its headlights. Every. Time. Without fail.

    The scares themselves are the lowest forms of screamers and found footage reality TV haunted house stuff combined. Random stompy noises without origin. Slammy noises everywhere. Oh no, so startling and pointless! Anybody can cause a startle-scare, anybody can make a 'screamer' type startle, and anybody can tie together wall-to-wall haunted house tropes. It's hard to feel threatened when from day 1 your couch is floating on the spot, and the randomly strewn around boxes are shuffling along. It's like the game is practically begging you to be scared, but it comes across as hamfisted as the lowest of budget 'horror' flicks. Many of the bigger haunting events can easily overlap, completely reducing their effectiveness, and leaving the player confused. An example of one of the least effective scares is that a random, small mannequin attached to a crucifix slides into the players view, like a bad motion-tween from a flash animation overlay attached to the camera... and then slides away again. The game made no attempt to explain why there was a mannequin sliding in front of my eye. The character didn't even react or remark on the matter. It was just... there.

    And then the bugs. Oh the bugs. Invisible collision volumes. Randomly unable to move, waiting for your camera batteries to run out (which results in instant death, yep). The interaction button having a strange reach/field causing you to reach past nearby objects you are looking at, only to interact with something else, some of which freezing you to the spot on a timer while you stare closely at something. Another glaring bug being a looping, grating sound that once started persists until the end of the playthrough. Depending on your GPU, the shadows will also flicker and pop around crazily.

    Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore horror, but that is perhaps why I feel so let down. I appreciate the creator's efforts to make something original, but it just combines the absolute worst elements of several horror genres in a buggy, glitchy package that they outright lied about being flexible and procedural. It's current state is 1.2.4, I believe, and yet it feels like an early alpha. The creator is busying himself with a kickstarter to make an 'expansion' location, while the game sits in a truly sorry state.

    This game only gets a 1 from me, because the program is at least somewhat functional, and it had potential. That's all it deserves in it's current state. It was so bad that I even assumed Desura streamed an old dev copy to me, where the hauntings trigger rapidly as a method of testing their results. Nope. The copy I got was the 'full release'. If only it was "so bad that it's good", then I could give it more marks. Only, it isn't. It's just plain bad. Such a waste of a potentially good idea. This game needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.
  2. Sep 18, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. What could have been a great idea for a procedural horror is let down by an irrelevant storyline, poor mechanics, cheap attempts at scariness, and a truckload of bugs. The story, such as it is, doesn't seem to connect to the hauntings as we see them. Indeed, the scares seem entirely random, both in terms of when they are triggered and their content. There seems to be no cohesive message or theme to the events, just hackneyed old footsteps, bangs and sudden jolts and so many of them! Every single idea of haunting seems to have been thrown into the pot flickering lights, screams, darkness, changing paintings, dolls, blood, hand-prints, etc. etc. with the result you find yourself not so much scared as bemused. The camera battery requiring sleeping to recharge is very contrived, and didn't add anything to the game beyond irritation, as you must return to bed each time, or die. (Why didn't the protagonist Mattel die before he turned the camera on, if that's so important? Why doesn't he die when he's asleep and the camera's recharging?) Mattel seems remarkably short compared to his furniture, and frequently gets stuck against or behind things. It's not clear which items you can use or collect, or why, and attempting to interact with an object will often cause the game to activate the wrong one particularly an issue with objects near doors. In short, this game is well worth avoiding. If you want scares through a camera, Project Zero/Fatal Frame does the job much, much better. I've given one point as the narrator's acting is decent. Expand
  3. Sep 1, 2013
    Procedural horror is a white whale for many developers. Paranormal delivers on varied content, solid tension building and great use of sound to capitalize on the anxiety you feel. Great game. Will only get better over time.
  4. Sep 1, 2013
    Loved this game, was absolutely amazing, don't ever trust critics! The game was scary and never was the same twice. Not many horror games can make each play through different. I never knew what was going to happen next.
  5. Sep 1, 2013
    Paranormal is a great step foreword into new territory and new types of horror. Personally not being a fan of the movies that inspired the game, the game itself does a great job of presenting itself as a horror game and that of keeping its audience on edge.

    However despite its random events it quickly becomes tedious this hell house eventually becomes predictable and begins to lack
    variety. Its story is rather thin confined to the house though it will keep you somewhat interested in the events of the house and its history.

    I am excited for the upcoming DLC "The Town" for all it plans to offer to make this game the awesome experience it was meant to be.
  6. Sep 1, 2013
    Three words for you: Randomly Generated Horror

    Paranormal is a game that really excels in what it sets out to do. Heavily inspired by the found-footage genre of horror (think of stuff like 'Blair Witch Project' and 'Paranormal Activity'), this game throws you into a house full of scary happenings and mystery, a story that's not that bad for a horror game, and most importantly: randomly
    generated scares. I've played the game multiple times and things haven't happened the same way twice. Sometimes, you'll go without seeing anything too scary, just some stuff that's eerie. Other times, you'll see- Well, I don't want to spoil it but there are some awesome scares, really original stuff that are well worth experiencing yourself. If you enjoy found-footage horror and want a game that will scare your pants off, 'Paranormal' is the title for you. The developer is a friendly guy and all updates to Paranormal (including additional content) are and will be free. Expand
  7. Nov 11, 2013
    A game created to sell. Matt Cohen's Paranormal is a dismal attempt at developing a title with UDK. With objects completely proportional to the player, set in a house where the architecture seems like it will fall at every corner and textures stretched beyond belief, Paranormal will do nothing but make you cry a little inside.
  8. Feb 15, 2014
    I loved this game.Paranormal was too scary and interesting.
    Video 10/10
    Story 5/10
    Music&Sound 10/10
    Gameplay 7/10

    I never seen horror game like this one before...

No score yet - based on 1 Critic

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 1 out of 1
  1. Feb 22, 2013
    Paranormal feels like an alpha build of a final idea, weighted down by the worst horror movie genre nonsense and the current obsession with walking at a snail’s pace to build faux tension.