Wednesday, December 17, 2014

[REVIEW] Paper Monsters Recut (Wii U)

Paper Monsters Recut
Platform: Wii U (e-Shop)
Genre: 2D Platformer
Developer and publisher: Mobot Studios / Crescent Moon Games

Originally released for mobile platforms, Paper Monsters has received a new coat of paint and several new features to make its console debut. The result is Paper Monsters Recut, a game that boasts a lot of charm and, a few problems aside, makes for a fun little adventure.

The aesthetics make a large part of Paper Monsters Recut's initial appeal. In this world, everything is made of paper, from the cute little cardboard protagonist to every enemy and scenery. The lighting is great, adding depth to the beautiful (if a bit simple) environments. The game certainly has its own appealing style, which by itself is a great way to try and make an impression.

All aboard the Paper Express!
As a stage-based 2D platformer with focus on exploration, the game plays pretty much how you'd think it would. Our hero has to transverse five main worlds, one secret world and several bonus stages. Each level holds loads of grey buttons, which work like the coins in Super Mario Bros. or the rings in Sonic the Hedgehog, along with three golden paperclips and one golden button. Finding everything is, in general, quite easy, even if sometimes the game tries to make things harder by adding twists to the level design. Another nice touch is how the main character can change shapes, vehicles and costumes depending on the stage: he'll ride a sled, turn into a submarine, or a small spaceship, or even a laser-gun-wielding, rocket-powered astronaut, adding variety to the gameplay.

After careful deliberation, I decided that the most apt subtitle for this image is "Wheeeeeeeeeee".
As a game that originated in mobile platforms, Paper Monsters Recut generally works quite well as an unassuming, budget console title. Sometimes it becomes plain that the developers weren't able to completely excise the mobile vibe from it, though, and this is seen especially in the soundtrack. The music has its heart on the right place, but gets annoyingly repetitive really fast. Even worse, there are problems in overall optimization and hit detection, meaning you'll sometimes fall through a perfectly solid platform, or experience severe frame rate drops.

Then there are the truly infuriating bugs. As of the time of this writing, the first bonus stage, ironically named Buggy Blaster, is impossible to complete, and will crash your Wii U every time. This sort of problem sadly mars an experience which is otherwise brimming with lighthearted, fun moments.

The buggy stage. (True on so many levels.)
This means that Paper Monsters Recut is a pleasant but flawed experience. Indulging in its simple mechanics is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon, at least until a more serious problem rears its ugly head. If you're a platforming fan, you'll still find plenty to enjoy here, as long as you're willing to overlook its less polished aspects.

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