What Makes the Paradise Killer Soundtrack So Good?

Published: Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - 13:00 | By: Robert Scarpinito
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I Want to Stay in Paradise Forever

Marvel’s Avengers and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater may have come out last week, but I’ve been spending my time in Paradise: the 24th sequence of it, to be exact. Paradise Killer launched on the same day as those two heavy hitters, and its soundtrack could seriously give THPS a run for its money. In my case, I’ll gladly turn off my guerrilla radio to vibe with the cool beats of paradise.

But it’s not the soundtrack itself that impressed me the most. The way Kaizen Game Works implemented the sound design caters to the players’ wants while subtly immersing them in the island’s atmosphere. After all, Paradise Killer oozes with personality, and that soundscape effortlessly eases you into this weird world of cosmic horror.

 
 

A Vibrant Soundtrack

First and foremost, let’s make one thing clear: The Paradise Killer soundtrack slaps. It hits that synthy vaporwave hard, with hints of funk thrown in for good measure. In a way, composer Barry “Epoch” Topping crafted a suite that feels groovy, nostalgic, and fresh. When you explore the island, your brain engages critically with the murder mystery, while your body instinctively vibes to the rhythm.

Paradise Killer Witness
Witness to the End may look like the kind of guy who likes good music, but appearances can be deceiving.

The opening sequence sets that vibrant tone early. To set the stage, Paradise Killer starts in a little house suspended hundreds of feet above the island proper, where we find player character Lady Love Dies in exile. A gruesome slaughter left local leadership in shambles. As the island’s best detective, Love Dies has been brought out of retirement to solve “the crime to end all crimes.”

After some prep work, Love Dies makes her way to the island. How? By skydiving off her prison, dropping straight onto asphalt—without a parachute. The moment you leap off the edge, the song “Paradise (Stay Forever)” kicks in, and you’re in freefall for nearly 20 seconds.

Your eyes take in the sights, and they’re weird enough to prompt so many questions. Why are there Japanese high-rise apartment complexes? What’s that pyramid in the distance? And what’s up with the gyroscopic big crystal? Kaizen Game Works gives you one answer, in bold text on the screen: “Breathe life back into paradise.” Now you’re in control.

Paradise Killer Exile
The view's nice from up here.

You’ve Got the AUX Cable

Paradise Killer makes a bold first impression, but there’s so much more to discover on the island. Specifically, 13 more songs await, hoping to be collected. When you find them, Love Dies adds them to a playlist, which plays off the island’s broadcast network.

In fiction, you’re using something similar to Spotify or Apple Music—you connect to a network and stream music. You can customize your playlist, skip songs, and even turn on shuffle. In other words, you’re in control of the music as you explore the enigmatic island.

Paradise Killer Starlight
Starlight is your trusty companion—and plays all your music.

Certain sections of Paradise have an air of grandeur or mystery to them. An ominous, little island holds the prime suspect in captivity. An offshore pyramid houses a living god. A demolished apartment complex to the southeast is shrouded in corruption after a demonic invasion 10 years ago.

When you enter these places, you know to keep an extra eye out for anything suspicious. The environment clues you into that state of mind, but the music does so too—by shutting off.

 

A notification on your HUD will pop up, claiming you’ve lost connection to the broadcast network. Now, that upbeat banger you were vibing with disappears. Instead, an eerie, ambient background sets in. When you open up your personal device to check your playlist, it simply says it can’t connect. Suddenly, you aren’t in control of the music anymore.

Paradise Killer Henry
Here's the prime suspect. His little prison island isn't exactly a welcoming place.

That slightly unsettling moment feels familiar, because we’ve all experienced it in real life. Whether you stream or download your music, you’re always in control of it. You decide when to skip a track, when to pause, or when to shuffle. When the music shuts off without your permission, the suddenness primes you to inspect things with a closer eye. Paradise Killer captures that feeling well, solely because they give you agency over its soundtrack.

And really, that agency is a core part of Paradise Killer’s identity on a larger scale. You explore the island however you please, and you ask witnesses the questions you want to. When the trial starts, your decisions before and during the proceedings determine the outcome. You’re the master of your own destiny in Paradise, and the sound design—particularly the soundtrack—perfectly reflects that.


Are you playing Paradise Killer? What’s your favorite song on the soundtrack? And who do you think killed the Council? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Robert Scarpinito TechRaptor
Features Editor

When I'm not talking about my love of Persona, I'm probably playing or writing about games. I'm waiting for the day I can be proud of the DC cinematic universe. Catch me on Tadaima: A Terrace House Podcast for some insights on the best reality TV show on Netflix.