There are many platforming and puzzle games out there today, but I don’t think there are many as captivating as A Tale of Paper. This Indie game made by Open HouseStudios who has done a remarkable job in the making of this game. It is very much similar to Limbo, Inside and the Little Nightmares games based on how it plays.
It follows the same principles of other Platforming/Puzzle titles with its difficult and rage inducing platforming levels as well as its cerebral challenging puzzles. However, A Tale of Paper puts its own unique spin on it as we visit vast environments that feel fresh despite a saturated field. Now with all that said, here is our review of A Tale of Paper.
A Short but Interesting story
A Tale of Paper has us play as an Origami like figure called Line. Somehow Line becomes a sentient being and begins to set out on a journey to try and accomplish the dreams of his creator that is written on his person.
As Line, you can run and jump around a 2D level with 3D structures, allowing you to manoeuvre around the rooms. Each of these levels was so fun to play and the levels became more and more challenging the story progressed.
It is a very quiet game, as no one speaks throughout the entirety of the game. This made following the story a little hard at first but as you progress through the game, you begin to contextually gather enough information to establish what’s happening and why we you are on this journey.
A Wide Variety in Enemies
In A Tale of Paper, you will come across a weird selection of things that are out to kill you. These enemies can range from terrifyingly large spiders to automated vacuum cleaners. Line must run away from these pursuing enemies who will not stop until you reach a safe place where they can’t get you.
Other than these enemies, Line must watch out for environmental aspects such as water. Water plays a major part in this story as most of it is played in a sewer and partially by a lake. If Line is submerged in the water he will die, forcing you to restart from the previous checkpoint.
Platforming and Puzzle Solving at it’s Best
The gameplay in A Tale of Paper is very simple, easy to follow and the controls are extremely accessible. This made things very easy when trying to beat platforming levels in the game.
This game also has a clever way of teaching you these controls as it is projected the required inputs onto the environment, clear for you to see. The controls are very sensitive though, mainly on narrow passages where I would have to stop every so often so I wouldn’t fall off again and again.
The puzzles in this game are really challenging especially if you are not looking in the right places. What I mean by this is that there subtle clues that you will need to keep an eye on sometimes often having you to explore in order to find the solution.
The platforming element works well in this game and shine through best with the transforming mechanic. Throughout the game, Line can find books that allows Line to transform into other objects to help them progress with the narrative.
Line can turn himself into things like a frog which increases Line’s jumping or a ball that allows Line to enter pipes, gaining access to other areas of the level.
This mechanic works well thanks to the transform mechanic being quick and seamless. Plus, some levels require you to transform more than once in order to progress, adding variety to each stage.
The environments within this game are particularity striking. This is an effect the game achieves through the grand scale of each stage. You are merely a minuscule figure moving around a larger than life world and this really impacts the player throughout, leaving a lasting impression thanks to the visual splendour.
Stunning environments and level design
A Tale of Paper has such a unique style which clearly takes inspiration from Tim Burton’s line of films. The levels vary, offering dark, empty and spooky vistas to bright and colourful environments, often within one stage.
Each stage was designed wonderfully, whether it was dynamic objects you could jump up on, kick and interact with, or the back ground scenery that gave the player more of an idea of the universe they are exploring, its clear that the developer has approached this will love and care.
There are also a bunch of origami pieces hidden around the map. These hidden origami collectables allow you to unlock extras in the main menu. These extras help add some more context to the story of how Line was made. I think this is a nice touch as it gives A Tale of Paper some replay-ability despite being a shorter than average game.
For an indie game it sure doesn’t feel like like a bargain bin title. You can definitely tell that the team at Open House Studios have really put a lot of effort into crafting this game, making it as great as possible for its players. With its beautiful art style and level design Open House really have packed so much detail into this game.
With its unique enemies for you to outsmart and seamless abilities for you to learn and use in very challenging puzzle and platforming segments. This game stakes it’s claim as one of the best puzzle platformers of 2020.
It isn’t without its flaws though, the movement is far to sensitive, meaning players will have to play in an unnatural manner at times to facilitate the game mechanics. It’s not a dealbreaker but it can be frustrating and immersion breaking at times.
Then on a lesser note, there was bugs present in this game, with the most poignant example being the texture issue when you receive your first transformation. However, we can only assume that a patch will fix this minor issue.
It is a very clever and unique game that everyone should play. With a amazing short story that uses wonderfully incorporated environmental cues to tell you what to do without saying a single word. It is quite a short single player game but don’t let that put you off playing it as you will be missing out on a truly remarkable Indie game.