Paper Monsters $0.99 (Universally available), Crescent Moon Games
In the world of Paper Monsters everything is made made out of paper, cardboard, and a few cotton balls. Paper Monsters takes all of the classic 2d platforming elements and combines them with cutting edge graphics. Enjoy classic 2d sidescrolling gameplay with gorgeous 3d environments. Full of Original and adorable characters, 28 levels across 6 worlds and an awesome original sound track!
Paper Monsters takes more than a few cues from the iconic Super Mario series which it doesn’t try to hide. The majority of enemies are dispatched by jumping on their head, you’ll hop into gigantic pipes to warp to different parts of the levels, and there’s even a giant mouth built into a mountain that you’ll escape through after beating up on a boss, a la Super Mario Bros. 2. These things don’t detract from the game though, in fact, they add to the already rich character and personality of Paper Monsters. This is a gorgeous game. Graphics are all done in colorful 3D, though gameplay is strictly old-school 2D style. The music is also a big part of the experience, and it manages to create incredibly moody atmospheres to explore and play through. The many Mario like flourishes merely enhance the already fantastic presentation of Paper Monsters.
Gameplay itself is simple and straight forward. You can move left or right, jump, and double jump. And that’s about it. Occasionally, a level will have you playing as a helicopter or submarine, effectively playing more like a shmup which breaks up all the platforming nicely. These sections are actually quite fun, and I wouldn’t have minded more of them. In fact, one of the big downfalls of Paper Monsters is that it’s a pretty short game. The environments run the gamut of familiar themes like grass lands, ice levels, the desert, and jungle ruins. Each level is a fairly good length, with checkpoints in the middle so you don’t have to restart from the beginning should you die, but they really won’t take too long to complete anyway. Some replay value is added in the form of 3 golden paper clips and a single hidden tile that need to be collected in each level if you wish to fully beat it. You can also collect buttons, which are essentially the coins of the game, and which can be accumulated and spent in an in-game shop on additional clothing items to deck out your character. It’s a fun distraction, but pretty non-essential. Also, if you don’t have much patience, you can get more buttons as IAP if you wish.
A really cool inclusion in Paper Monsters is the Dash Mode. This is essentially an auto-running version of the game, where your character runs to the right on his own and you just need to worry about jumping on enemies and over hazards while collecting buttons. It’s really quite fun, and could easily have been a full game on its own, so the fact that it’s included as a bonus is pretty nice. You can also try this mode in your web browser for free, if you’re curious.
Where Paper Monsters really wins is in its presentation and overall feel, which is something that’s hard to describe. Some games are let down by mistakes in their basic mechanics ruining the rest of the game. Paper Monsters pulls this aspect off well, as just playing through the levels is fun in and of itself, even if it doesn’t wow you with a ton of new ideas or endless amounts of levels. For lack of a better expression, it just feels right.
It seems the developers of Paper Monsters set out to make a throwback to some of their favorite old-school platformers, with awesome graphics and solid controls, and at this they completely succeed with Paper Monsters. If you don’t go in expecting the game to reinvent the wheel, and can appreciate the eye candy and simple fun of platforming, then Paper Monsters should give you plenty of enjoyment for your dollar. People in our forums sure seem to dig it, and with some additional levels planned for updates, there should be even more fun coming in the future.