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Doomsday Paradise Review: A Quirky Dating Sim with RPG and Deckbuilder Mechanics

Platform reviewed: Steam

Price: $14.99

Every time I believe I've played every possible type of deckbuilder, another game in the genre emerges and proves me wrong. Enter Doomsday Paradise, a dating sim game that combines unique visual elements, RPG elements, and deckbuilder mechanics. It's easily one of the quirkiest games I've played. Still, I appreciate that the developers fully embraced the zaniness, as it truly sets Doomsday Paradise apart in a saturated genre. It's a fun and unique game, and I applaud its efforts to try something different.

When I first loaded the game, I knew I was in for an idiosyncratic experience, starting with the character selection. I was presented with options such as an anthropomorphic deer-like character wearing a skull mask, a samurai frog, a dragon lady holding an intriguing sandwich, a rat residing inside an astronaut's suit, and a muscular fish with crab claws for arms. Oddly enough, this all fits perfectly within the context of the game, considering that the story revolves around monsters and demons inhabiting Sunset Town, a city on the brink of destruction due to an impending apocalypse. However, instead of fretting about the world's end, my characters were preoccupied with dating eligible singles. After selecting my character, I had to choose which of the twelve eligible singles would be my crush. Each potential date had specific attributes they desired in a potential partner, so it was up to me to level up my character to meet those requirements. What I adore about Doomsday Paradise is that I'm not limited to who I can date based on my character selection, allowing for plenty of replayability.

The gameplay consists of two phases. In the first phase, I needed to fill out my diary and decide on my plans for the morning and afternoon. The mornings presented me with scenarios such as a bard wanting to write a song about me or a gambler dropping currency outside the casino, and I had to come up with the name of the money. The afternoons involved choices like flirting, resting, or training. My selections influenced how the twelve dateable characters perceived me, with some options affecting my friendship status and character stats based on how I spent my mornings and afternoons.

After making my choices, I selected which destination to explore on the map. Most of the time, I chose a location based on the inputs in my diary, as there would be a present waiting for me there. However, while this benefited my character, it was not always the best choice for connecting with my crush. Different scenes played out at each location, introducing me to various residents of Sunset City. This is where the visual novel aspect of the game comes into play. The dialogue was witty, a little wild, and slightly bawdy. The game fully embraced its unconventional dating sim aspect, making each character stand out with their unique personalities. Additionally, with 400 scenes in the game, I only discovered a few at a time during each playthrough. Doomsday Paradise offers plenty of content, significantly enhancing its replayability.

The game's second phase is the battle phase, where the deckbuilding and RPG elements come into play. If you're familiar with deckbuilders, this phase won't be entirely new. However, what sets Doomsday Paradise apart is that the character's stats determine how many cards I can play during each round. This brings me to the second reason why I adore Doomsday Paradise - the artwork is absolutely phenomenal. The singles are beautifully illustrated, and the demons are distinctly unique. Each playthrough unlocked new enemies, and I thoroughly enjoyed the animation of both the characters and the enemies. The artwork adds an incredible amount of personality to the already eccentric story.

Of course, all good things must come to an end, and the final boss in Doomsday Paradise is a demon horse destined to bring about the apocalypse. I couldn't help but chuckle when I was given the option to either send my character out to fight the boss or choose someone else for the task. With 120 possible endings, Doomsday Paradise offers a wealth of possibilities. Additionally, selecting a long or short run adds even more replayability.

Final Grade: A

Doomsday Paradise successfully delivers a unique and quirky experience. The outstanding artwork and story are amusing yet well-crafted, and the combination of visual novel mechanics, RPG elements, and deckbuilding sets Doomsday Paradise apart in a crowded field. If you're seeking something different and don't mind a spicy dating sim filled with monsters and demons, Doomsday Paradise should definitely be on your list.

Review code provided by Neonhive


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