With its neon palette, retro pixel art, and jagged synth soundtrack, Black Paradox is a side-scrolling shoot-’em-up that oozes ’80s cool.
You play as a bounty hunter flying through space in a jet-powered DeLorean. Your task: Take down the heads of the aptly named Hellraiser gang.
To get to them, you’ll have to blast through randomly generated waves of enemy ships, which makes each game a fresh hunt. The powerful weapons are also randomly generated, spanning familiar rail guns, lasers, and missiles to more creative options, like the super fun Moroder gun (presumably named after disco legend Giorgio Moroder), which shoots a wave of devastating musical notes.
The ultimate secret weapon is the Black Paradox, a dark twin version of your ship that can deal a double dose of damage. That’s especially useful for pattern-oriented bosses, who compensate for their predictable moves with potent power and abilities.
Controlling your ship is as easy as dragging a finger across one side of the screen while tapping the other side to shoot. Holding a finger down to fire constantly is usually your best bet—there are a lot of enemies lurking about in the dark reaches of space—but you can also switch weapons with a simple swipe.
You’ll need to do that often—Black Paradox isn’t easy. Avoiding bullets is as important as blasting the bad guys; levels are often frenetic, filled with enemies coming from all directions.
But the game eases up the more you play. Each go, you earn in-game credits that can permanently upgrade your ship, making subsequent runs slightly easier. Death is just a temporary setback.
And though you’ll suffer plenty of those in your time with Black Paradox, they’re always worth it. Gorgeous, stylish, and demanding, the game is both a love letter to the decade it channels and a serious blast.