Paper Monsters, the much-anticipated platformer developed by Robots vs. Wizards and published by Crescent Moon Games, is now available from the app store. Mixing a kid-friendly style with terrific graphics and solid gaming elements, Paper Monsters is both approachable and charming.
Paper Monsters Pros:
- Colorful, vibrant worlds full of enemies and secret locations to explore
- Cheery soundtrack and plenty of effects
- Simple, unobtrusive control scheme
- Utilizes many classic platforming attributes well
- GameCenter integration for global leaderboards and achievements
Paper Monsters Cons:
- Doesn’t truly stand out from other offerings in its genre
- Some control stickiness that leads to frustration
You are in control of a robot made of cardboard and bearing a striking resemblance to Cordy’s protagonist. Wending your way through 16 levels divided evenly across 4 stages, you are tasked with collecting silver and gold buttons, as well as golden paper clips, while discovering secret areas and stomping a handful of enemies as you search for the end goal. Each of the stages culminates in a boss battle, too. For the most part, Paper Monsters plays well and is a fun experience, though it ultimately underwhelms with slow, bland gameplay and sticky controls. Drawing a good deal of inspiration from popular platformers like Mario (who doesn’t?), you’ll feel at home among transport pipes, collectible items, and slow-moving enemies that are vanquished by jumping on their heads. Some enemies, like the walking bombs, impact your surroundings by exploding after being stomped and knocking down towers and boxes. Others, like hovering creatures, allow you to reach great heights by bouncing off of their heads and double-jumping to out-of-reach platforms. Silver buttons are littered throughout the game, as are a small number of gold buttons. Every 50 collected silver buttons will be converted to a gold button. These buttons are exchanged for cosmetic costume upgrades to the main character. Your health is represented by a small number of hearts that are diminished by one for each enemy contact other than a head stomp. Dying will simply cause you to restart a level or play from a checkpoint, though your health status at the time of reaching the checkpoint carries over to additional attempts.
Graphically, Paper Monsters is a vibrant and colorful 2D side-scroller within a 3D world. Each environment utilizes characters and objects specific to the location, like mushrooms and dragons in the forest levels and candycanes and yetis in the tundra. There are locations behind the main gaming area that are accessible via pipes, forcing you to play at a great distance and with the foreground blocking your viewpoint from time to time. Both of these aspects can make for some difficulty, though it does add a bit of challenge to an otherwise routine experience. Levels are fairly lengthy and allow for some degree of exploration, especially when searching for the golden paperclips hidden within each level. The audio is upbeat and cheerful, providing the syrupy sweet soundscape that you’d expect from this type of title. Our only issue with the audio was the annoying sound that the main character makes when he jumps, which can be grating after some time. The controls do not clutter the screen, as a joypad for movements only appears when you touch your thumb to the left side of the screen. Alternatively, a fixed and visible joypad is available, too. Jumping is handled by tapping the right side of the screen, with double-jumps occurring when you re-tap in mid-air. It is the jumping mechanic that we found to be a bit sticky, as we often get stuck in a vertical jump rather than an angled jump when the joypad doesn’t register properly. The slightly floaty physics also makes accurate landing an issue, especially in regard to landing on enemies.
Replay value is fair, as you’ll likely require a few additional runthroughs to find any missing paperclips or discover additional secret locations. There is an additional Dash game mode that makes you autorun across each level, requiring you simply to jump as you make your way across the board. GameCenter integration brings global leaderboards and achievements into the mix. A universal app for $0.99, Paper Monsters is a decent 4-Dimple offering.
Paper Monsters Review,