There is a murder mystery at the center of Paradise Killer — a big one, in fact. An entire council of important people have been murdered, as have the guards that were assigned to protect them. The alleged culprit has been apprehended, but there’s still plenty of work to do before the trial begins.

I am a die-hard fan of murder mysteries; the more impossible to solve, the better. I’ve invested countless hours into series like Danganronpa and Umineko. My shelves are packed with Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, and Keigo Higashino. But for whatever reason, the mystery in Paradise Killer hasn’t managed to grab me.

I don’t really care that much about who killed the council. It doesn’t feel that important to bring the culprit — or culprits — to justice. What I am interested in is hanging out with ghosts.

Before anyone on the island was unlawfully murdered, you see, the citizens were ritually slaughtered. Some of them are a bit miffed about that, and some of them have unfinished business. As you explore this vaporwave world, you’ll occasionally run into a ghost that will ask you for help.

These quests aren’t anything elaborate — the ghosts usually just want you to find them an item — but I’ve found them to be a lot more engaging than the game’s main narrative. Although Paradise Killer has been compared to story-heavy games like Danganronpa, most of the game involves wandering around the mostly-empty island, searching for collectibles and lore. These weird little ghost quests are perfectly suited to that style of gameplay.

It’s also clear that the slaughtered citizens are the real victims here, not the immortal cultists that were slain at the start of the game. It’s hard not to emphasize with them, even though you only see tiny fragments of their lives. Paradise Island is probably better off without its ruling council, but Anarchic Ghost deserved better.

There’s a lot to like about Paradise Killer‘s bizarre, zealotry-filled world, even if the game has a tendency to throw too much at you at once. The game fully commits to its vaporwave aesthetic. It has a killer (no pun intended) UI and soundtrack that give the game plenty of atmosphere. There are so many clues and relics that the game often feels like a collect-a-thon, and a lot of the lore is genuinely intriguing.

However, I’m not sure that this world is the best setting for a murder mystery. It’s hard to make logical deductions when you don’t fully understand how the world works. That doesn’t mean the mystery is unsolvable — once you find the right evidence, the deductions are largely spelled out for you — but the act of solving it isn’t very satisfying.

And so I’ve been focusing on mysteries that do capture my imagination, like all the little mysteries scattered throughout the game’s world. This is an open-ended investigation with no time limits, and if I keep helping ghosts, I’m sure I’ll eventually find the evidence I need to start the trial. Paradise Killer isn’t really giving me the detective experience I was hoping for, but I’m pretty into being a therapist for ghosts.

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