Paper Monster Recut is a lavishly colourful platform game now available on WiiU (reviewed) and Steam. It’s an enhanced version of the iPhone game ‘Paper Monster’.
You play as an animated cardboard box who lives in Paperland. Monsters and minions have turned up from out of the blue and it’s your job to put them in their place. Yes, the plot really is that paper thin (no pun intended), but it’s a child friendly platform game so the lack of any plot doesn’t really faze me.
When you start the game you begin in an over world littered with several floor pads. Each pad is an entrance to a new stage, but initially only the first stage will be accessible. To unlock more stages you need to find and collect paperclips which are hidden within the stages (three per stage).
All the levels are presented with 3D graphics although it plays just like a 2D game. Like Donkey Kong Country Returns or Kirby’s Triple Trouble it’s not uncommon for stages to have areas within the background which you can warp to through large pipes. As far as the gameplay is concerned it feels like a very watered down Super Mario Bros. with enemies you can bounce on, moving or interactive platforms, perils, traps and lots of secrets to find. It’s all very standard stuff for a game of this genre.
When I began the game my initial opinion was divided. The first thing that hit me was how pretty the graphics were. Aesthetically the game looked like it belonged in the Nintendo cannon. Since the stages look as if they are made from folded craft paper the game looks similar to titles such as Paper Mario, Epic Yarn or Yoshi’s Woolly World. The sound was pretty nice. The music wasn’t particularly distinctive but it was pretty relaxing. I’d describe the music as electronic with soothing, ambient overtures.
However, despite how well presented the game was there were a few factors that I wasn’t warming to. The opening stages were quite basic and simple in design. I realise that it’s sensible for a platform game to start off with simple levels to help ease players in, however these particular stages seemed too much like child’s play.
Despite the game having no touch screen features you can only play via the WiiU game pad. This wouldn’t have been that bad, unfortunately in addition to not being able to use a Pro Control you’re also not able to use the D-Pad to control your character. Personally I prefer to use the analog sticks in 3D titles and the D-Pad in 2D platformers so controlling the movement with the stick didn’t feel too natural for me.
Fortunately despite having limited input options the game’s controls are very tight and responsive. Initially you only need the use of two face button. One to run and one to jump. The character is quite slow so I found myself holding run pretty much constantly to try and push him up to a decent speed. He’s also capable of a double jump which helps make platforming a little easier to deal with.
Throughout the first world I was pretty underwhelmed with the game play. I thought the game was too slow, too basic, too easy, and despite there being an over world I just ripped through the first five stages in order making the game feel pretty linear. The fact that all the character was capable of doing was running and jumping made the game seem pretty dry.
However after beating the first boss the game really started to open up and reveal its true potential. Within five minutes of finding world two (the ice world) I had discovered a warp to world three (a space world), a secret candy level and a few bonus games. I ended up getting a bit lost in the over world, warping from area to area discovering new stages to unlock and hidden items to collect.
Although the game is pretty easy throughout, the levels did start to get more exciting with more effort going into hiding the collectables and more apparatus to interact with and control. There was a sledge that you could ride in the snowy stages, a gun mounted submarine for when you’re underwater but my personal favorite was the jet pack that offered you a short period of free flight. In certain stages you are given extra abilities such as a laser gun in the space stages. Personally I think the game would have benefited from implementing some of these temporary features and turning them into permanent fixtures since usually the character is pretty muted in his abilities.
One thing I really like about this particular platformer is its focus on seeking collectibles in order to progress. Many platform games hide collectibles in stages in order for you score 100%, but very few make it a necessity for progression. It’s nice to play a game where collectibles have more relevance to the win condition rather than just be there to prolong the game’s lifespan after you’ve beaten it.
Once I beat the first world and started to really explore Paperland I actually thought the game wasn’t bad at all. It was a little easy but I think it’s perfectly suited for younger players (pre-teens). I would like to recommend it on this basis however this title does have a major floor which may be a deal breaker. As I stated above I reviewed the WiiU version so I can’t speak for how stable the Steam release is, but speaking from when I last played it I can confirm that the WiiU version is extremely buggy.
The game is littered with clipping issues and on more than one occasion I fell through the floor to my death, I was able to push myself through solid objects, escape the screen all together, discover areas and sprites that I wasn’t meant to access, some objects had gravity issues and fell much slower than they were supposed to and the list goes on. One of the more concerning problems was a driving mini game which I attempted to play twice and on both occasions completely crashed my WiiU. I had to hold down the power button on the console to reset the hardware as the crash completely paralyzed the system. I did a Google search and discovered that I wasn’t the only person to have this problem occur on the same stage.
Fortunately this mini game wasn’t essential for getting 100% of the collectibles, unfortunately I couldn’t achieve that either due to a completely different game breaking bug. While playing the game through I wanted to do a thorough job so I wouldn’t move to a new level until I found all the collectibles in the current one. Around the middle of the game was a stage where despite me finding all three paper clips only two of them registered. I repeated the stage a few times and always got the same result. This game may feature some sort of completion bonus, however due to this glitch I have no way of discovering it for myself.
I do hope this game gets patched because all technical problems aside it really wasn’t bad. It’s quite short and not very challenging but it is very attractive, engaging, it controls well and it’s very child friendly.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Wii U code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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