Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory is a digital adaptation of a classic tabletop game, so naturally, it’s a bit of a SOCOM-style tactical RPG. The player needs to work their way up in the world of rampant propaganda and medicated happiness. The game follows the source material when it comes to the color-coded class tiers, over-the-top 1984 references, and creepy AI overlords.
However, Paranoia just feels like a combination of games that already exist. Despite being based off a much older tabletop favorite, the digital adaptation seems to just be a combination between SOCOM and We Happy Few. Sure, We Happy Few was hardly groundbreaking, but Gearbox’s dystopic RPG absolutely leaned into the medicated happiness and propaganda that hearken back to the same source material as the original Paranoia did. Which means the games feel eerily similar despite being set in vastly different eras.
Being a tactical RPG, the SOCOM references are also unavoidable, because SOCOM set the standard for tactical RPGs.
Which, unfortunately, means that the audience for Big Ben’s Paranoia is going to be rather small. From those who love the board game and want a way to play it without a group of fellow players to those who loved both SOCOM and We Happy Few and want to play a game that is, essentially, their awkward love child.
Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory will release later this year.