Play It: Paradox Embrace

I feel like I was teethed with an NES controller. Some of my earliest and fondest memories of my family involved us all sitting around the living room TV and taking turns playing Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt. While my brother moved on to extremely difficult games involving stealth and gun play, I stuck to puzzle games, platformers, and bizarre peripherals (I still love my intermittently working Samba de Amigo maracas for the Dreamcast (my favorite console)). That means I've played a lot of puzzle games. When kids at school would invite me to their video arcade birthday parties, I would be quite satisfied to deposit a few of my tokens into a Tetris machine and play until they'd have to drag me away for pizza and laser tag. When I got a GameBoy and (later) a GameGear, I had Disney platformers and every puzzle game I could get my hands on. 

So what does this have to do with another game on Newgrounds? A lot. Paradox Embrace is everything I love about puzzle/platformers. At this point, swapping out costumes for different abilities is nothing new. Neither is the necessity to swap abilities to traverse difficult terrain. The strength of Paradox Embrace is presenting a clean, stylish puzzle/platformer game with a challenging, but not unreasonable, difficulty level.

The story is minimal. You are confronted with a shadow monster who taunts you, claiming he took your treasure but since you don't know what to do with it anyway you haven't learned to miss it yet. You are then thrust into a fantasy platform maze where you can transform from your normal action hero form to a wizard and a scientist to start. You have to collect items, such as beakers for the scientist, to open new paths that only other characters can actually get to. It's almost like an elaborate version of a pen and paper logic puzzle that requires a lot of trial and error to get right. Then you move on to the next stage, and the next, and the next, until you complete the game. The gameplay is not repetitive, a common fault in online puzzle/platformers. There is enough variety in the action and well executed gradation of difficulty to keep you involved.

Best of all is how the game saves itself with each stage completed. I recommend giving it a try. Maybe play the first level or two. Then you'll find yourself coming back later for the third, then the fourth, then the fifth...

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