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Paradise Killer is one of the biggest surprises of 2020. This open world murder mystery—the first release from indie studio Kaizen Gameworks—succeeds where many other detective games fail, by letting you actually be a detective. There are no missions, objective markers, or prescribed paths to follow. It’s just you, an island full of clues, and a killer to catch. And if you accuse the wrong person because you didn’t gather enough evidence, well, tough.

You play as the magnificently named Lady Love Dies, a disgraced hotshot investigator brought out of exile to investigate a gruesome mass murder. But the deeper you dig into the crime, the island, and its eccentric inhabitants, the more the waters are bloodied. It’s a big, dense, complex conspiracy, and it’s your job to untangle it by finding evidence, poking holes in testimonies, and breaking alibis, which you can do in any order, at your own pace.

(Image credit: Kaizen Gameworks)

“Very early on, before we started Paradise Killer, Oli and I talked about the idea of a detective game where we just let you go out and be a detective,” says Phil Crabtree, technical director and one of the co-founders of Kaizen Gameworks. “A game where you could do anything you wanted in any order. It wasn’t really an idea, more a thought I had after playing other games. Then Oli took that and it became the heart of what we have in the game now.”

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