Paperbound Review

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Paperbound is a Smash Bros. inspired brawler developed by Dissident Logic, a one-man company run by Daniel Holbert. While the creator is an industry veteran, this is his first foray into the world of indie development. The concept of Paperbound seems familiar enough at first glance: up to four people indulge in chaotic local multiplayer combat with colorful cartoon characters through the pages of famous books. Paperbound’s ingenious gravity mechanic is what sets it apart from the competition. With the tap of the triangle button, you change the orientation of the gravitational pull on your character. This single mechanic gives the gameplay an entirely unique angle, making it an experience I can’t say I’ve had before. And when you have four people all swapping their character’s gravity constantly, it makes for some hilarious chaos. While the gravity mechanic may sound a bit difficult to understand at first, you’ll have a solid understanding once you’ve finished a few rounds. 

Weapons in the game range from the explosive ink bomb to the shuriken-like scissors. Far from making the player invincible, weapons can be redirected if you’re vigilant enough, making for some intense fights. Overall, the controls are simple to get the hang of, leaving room to master timing your attacks. Winning doesn’t stop at kill counts in Paperbound. Not only must you achieve the set number of kills, but you then have to make it through the portal before you’re killed yourself. No victory is certain. The game never makes the player feel like if they’re at a low kill count, that they can’t possibly turn it around and win. It also keeps people who are doing well from steamrolling others. 

"At the modest price point of only ten dollars, Paperbound is a steal. It’s got enough content to keep you and your friends entertained for hours."

The game has a nice variation of characters to choose from, with a variety of pallet swaps to keep everyone distinct enough. There are no character-specific advantages though, making it a purely aesthetic choice. Five books full of levels boast a well-developed roster of battle locations. The only issue I had with the visuals occurred during the larger levels. The wide field of view sometimes made it difficult to see my character. Due to the nature of the gravity ability, the camera cannot zoom in on the characters as they bunch together ala Super Smash Bros. 

That aside, I highly recommend playing with four players. I tried the game with two initially, and while it was fun enough, it’s clear this game really shines under the use of four people. Still, the bots are competent and able to keep you on your toes. With everyone crowded on my couch, we tried a variety of settings. The classic free-for-all versus was good for getting everyone used to the game mechanics. Longer Live the King was a chaotic manhunt. Last Man Standing was a desperate battle between killing everyone else while keeping yourself alive. The mode we loved the most was Capture the Quill. Done in teams, it’s a high-tension capture the flag game that encourages creative strategy. 

At the modest price point of only ten dollars, Paperbound is a steal. It’s got enough content to keep you and your friends entertained for hours. If you're a Smash Bros. or Playstation All-Stars fan, Paperbound is the game for you. Despite the few visual quibbles I have with it, I’m sure we’ll be firing it back up to play again soon. 

Review by: Erin Conley | Reviewed on: Playstation 4



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