Paper Beast

Read our review of the magical and amazingly unique PSVR title, Paper Beast.

When I first laid my eyes on Paper Beast during PlayStation’s State of Play presentation, I was wowed by its unique visual style. It looked like no other game on PSVR and I could not wait to discover its mysteries. I could not tell from the trailer what the gameplay was like and I like that, it was all a mystery, until today.

I can honestly say, after completing Paper Beast that it was nothing like I expected. It was better, more abstract and more engulfing than I could have ever predicted. I was surprised at every turn and was left wanting to know more, about both the game’s message and its origins.

A strange opening to a very abstract and beautiful game

Even though it is nothing like it, the game reminds me of Journey. It is more about your interpretation of what is happening and your personal narrative within the game rather than a set, rigid storyline. Paper Beast is like a living piece of art and I was in constant amazement of its vivid, wild world.

I don’t want to give to much away really as this is one of those games that will be appreciated more the less you know about it. I want to say so much but will refrain and just give a brief outline of my time within this beautiful, ethereal paper-based realm.

Creepy crawlies in the dark

My favourite thing about this interesting little game is its lack of hand-holding or tutorials. Too many games these days drag the player around, guiding their every move. Paper Beast respects the player and explains nothing, I loved it. It is so refreshing to have to experiment and try to work out what is happening and find out what your next objective is.

At times I was scratching my head, at times I found things out by accident but that was all part of Paper Beasts minimal style and charm. There were no UI prompts, no text boxes telling you what to do, nothing. This may bother some people but I liked trying to work out what was next for me to tackle.

Yep, I am manipulating water with a coloured cube

At its core, Paper Beast is an interactive simulation where you solve small environmental puzzles by interacting with the wildlife, the elements and the terrain. Underneath though its a lot more than that, it’s a swirling storm of paper and emotion wrapped up in an abstract piece of art that constantly challenges your senses.

You use your Dual Shock 4 or Move controllers to move objects, help wildlife and progress though Paper Beasts ever-changing landscape. There were times I just stopped and gazed around at this amazingly realized environment. It has so much life, it feels alive and you feel, at times, like you really are in another dimension that is made out of paper.

The weird and wonderful creatures of Paper Beast

Paper Beast is quite short, a playthrough can be completed in a few hours but there are reasons to re-visit the campaign after you have completed it. There are collectables scattered throughout each chapter and they unlock items and assets in the sandbox mode to experiment with. You can spawn creatures and weather systems to mess around with and re-create the world as you see fit.

The sights and sounds on offer are a joy to behold. Graphically, Paper Beast is stunning. For what it is it is definitely one of the most striking art designs I have seen on a PSVR title. Its music, similarly, is also fantastic, it perfectly matches the art style and they go hand in hand to ramp up the emotion when needed. Together they help immerse you in this otherworldly place, completely absorbing you in the process.

This world is so magical and beautiful

The VR implementation was just about perfect. I had no issues whatsoever. In fact, it was that good I forgot I was even playing in VR and just got swept away sauntering through this abstract, crazy paper world. It was pure joy to play and if VR had got in the way, it would have destroyed the immersion completely. Luckily this was not the case and you are left unencumbered to enjoy this novel title.

Paper Beast will be a different thing to different players. I can see some people not liking it but I can see a lot more loving it. If you’re open to something new, something a bit out of the ordinary then all I can say is don’t read up about it and jump into its fantastic, imaginative world.

Seb Hawden

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

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