“The paper burns, but the words fly free.” – Akiba Ben Joseph
Papetura is a beautifully hand-crafted point-and-click adventure that follows a paper protagonist, Pape, and his companion Tura as they venture through a dangerous landscape full of strange creatures and flaming monsters!
Released: 7th May 2021
Price: £7.99 – £9.59
Papetura features classic point-and-click style gameplay but can be played with either a mouse and keyboard or a controller. It is devoid of written text or spoken dialogue and whilst this is theoretically great in terms of accessibility, but the visual cues are unclear meaning the gameplay is often confusing and the player is left unsure of how to progress. There is a hint system available, but revealing the clue involves completing a small minigame in which the good bugs must be collected from within a small space and touching the wrong ones will reset progress. There appears to be a moderate difficulty curve for this as the game progresses.
Working out what to do can be confusing due to the ambiguous and minimal information presented but even when the objective is known, the execution of often clunky, repetitive, and slow. They regularly require precision, good memory, accurate timing, and a lot of patience. The protagonist’s movement speed is frustratingly sluggish, with Pape walking at a meandering pace. This is doubly unfortunate when the game requires a lot of backtracking and revisiting areas. These factors contribute not only to the lack of excitement felt by the player but also make the experience feel tedious and exasperating. The game will take around 1.5 – 2 hours to play but could easily have been shorter and more enjoyable with some small changes.
Papetura’s narrative is both endearing and perilous. It tells a tale of trials and tribulations and follows the hero Pape and his cute companion Tura as they try to save their home from fire. The story is quite vaguely delivered, however, and it is not entirely clear what the goal is. This is partly due to the complete lack of text and dialogue but also due to the ambiguous visual cues and gameplay. The NPCs are curious, whimsical and often bizarre looking but interactions are somewhat minimal and they do not have an abundance of impact on the experience as a whole.
This game is visually stunning, it has very clearly been lovingly hand-crafted and the overall effect is beautiful. Almost every element, from backgrounds to characters and even small insects, has been meticulously made from paper and transformed into an interactive work of art. The colour palette is very limited and uses a lot of warm shades and tones. The lighting is wonderfully atmospheric and integral to both the aesthetic and the gameplay itself. Papetura’s look is completely unique and original and by far the stand-out feature of the experience.
The music ranges from calm and gentle, featuring delicate piano and subtle strings, to eerier tracks that are designed to build tension and indicate the ominous atmosphere and imminent threats. The soundtrack is quite beautiful and melodious but perhaps a bit subtle at times and could have been implemented with more gumption to mirror the impact of the game’s visuals and create a more imposing environment. The sound effects are varied, including both cute and creepy sounds and do a good job of adding to the player’s sense of immersion.
It is unfortunate that such an aesthetically unique and beautiful game does not have gameplay that matches the quality of the visuals, which will undoubtedly be what draws a lot of players to the experience in the first place. There is clearly a lot of love and hard work that went into creating Papetura and there are elements, such as the stunningly hand-crafted appearance, atmospheric sound design and charming protagonist that are simply outstanding. However, there are also a number of drawbacks when it comes to the gameplay itself. It feels confusing, drawn out and laborious due to a lack of guidance and unclear instructions, slow movement speed, backtracking and frustrating puzzles. I really wanted to love this game, it genuinely saddens me that it did not live up to expectations and I am sorry to say that whilst there are aspects of the game that are truly exquisite, I cannot recommend the whole experience.
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Dordogne – Beautiful in Every Way! – Viewfinder – A Unique Perspective-Bending Puzzle Game – Frank and Drake – A Unique, Beautiful, and Uncomfortable Experience.