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Paperbound Review

Paperbound Review

Paperbound is an arena battle game from developer Dissident Logic. Players are tasked with defeating each other in a variety of storybook arenas using a mix of stationary inspired weaponry. Melee with a pencil is your main attack. You are also equipped with a pair of scissors, which can be used as a projectile weapon, and an ink bomb, which is your grenade. You can deflect thrown weapons from other players using your pencil, which when successful is particularly satisfying. These core mechanics are simple yet effective, but when first starting the game I was disappointed that every character uses the same attacks without variation. I found it to be a shame given the eclectic cast of characters. Speaking of the cast Paperbound offers a unique variety of characters including some special indie title guests such as Juan from Guacamelee and Captain Viridian from VVVVVV. Whilst they don't offer anything to the gameplay, players will surely enjoy the inclusion of some indie fan-favourites.

Whilst I was at first disappointed in the game's lack of attack variations, the fast-paced nature of the matches make the three default attacks make sense and what's more, very fun to use. The reason behind this is that the game also employs a gravity switching mechanic, making already frantic matches even crazier. Gravity can be switched with a single button press and affects every player individually. This means that four players can all be flying in different directions, swiping at each other in a frenzied mess of pure carnage. Another neat little quirk is that when a player reaches the top score limit, they have to escape through a tear in the stage to win. If they are killed however the tear closes and other players have the chance to claim victory. This can extend matches quite a lot making you desperate for that final kill in order to sweep a sneaky victory from the other players.

Paperbound Pic 1

The arenas you fight in are well designed offering a variety of different environments. Some are small and good for one on one fights whilst others are better for 4 player battles. Some have moving platforms and the most deadly are surrounded by lava or other stage hazards, making using gravity particularly dangerous.

Whilst the core mechanics of Paperbound are solid, the game lets itself down by its lack of replay value. There isn't any story mode or anything that could be considered a campaign, and even though you do get a variety of modes to play , the game feels barren with its offerings. There's also no online multiplayer which could have extended the game's replay value. Indeed, the game is destined to be played through local multiplayer and this is where friends will have the most fun with Paperbound.

When first playing Paperbound you would be forgiven for thinking that the game is a simplistic take on the arena battle genre. Dig a little deeper though and you find a game with solid gameplay mechanics, that delivers rounds of fast paced fun whilst playing solo, or with friends. The quick, frenzied matches of Paperbound can offer hours of fun if the core gameplay appeals to you. It’s undoubtedly a mix of solid mechanics that appear simple, but are fiendishly fun to play and can be deviously complex, it's just a shame that Paperbound ends up being paper thin.

6.50/10 6½

Paperbound (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)

Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.

When first playing Paperbound you would be forgiven for thinking that the game is a simplistic take on the arena battle genre. Dig a little deeper though and you find a game with solid gameplay mechanics, that delivers rounds of fast paced fun whilst playing solo, or with friends. The quick, frenzied matches of Paperbound can offer hours of fun if the core gameplay appeals to you. It’s undoubtedly a mix of solid mechanics that appear simple, but are fiendishly fun to play and can be deviously complex, it's just a shame that Paperbound ends up being paper thin.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Reece Armstrong

Reece Armstrong

Senior Staff Writer

Just a musician and geek all rolled into one who spends his days watching sandcastles melt into the sea

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