A Tale of Paper is a brand new PlayStation exclusive hailing from Spain. It was the winner of the V PlayStation Talents Awards a while ago and a title we had been looking forward to. How did it turn out?
In the trailers and screenshots we had seen, A Tale of Paper felt like part LittleBigPlanet’s Sackboy and part Unravel, with its origami-based gameplay that tells an emotional story without using any on-screen text. Its combination of visual storytelling and puzzle platforming also evokes memories of games like Limbo, but ultimately it doesn’t rise to the heights of those games even though it’s a worthwhile experience.
At the start of the game, a piece of paper is brought to life using a magical ball of light, after which you take control of it. As you run and jump, you must steer cleer of the dangers that various enemies present – enemies that included dreaded vacuum cleaners that will tear you apart. Over time, you will learn to transform yourself (using the power of origami) into different shapes, which also brings different abilities with it.
Morphing (or rather, folding) into a frog means you have to rely on jumping rather than running, but your jumps are more powerful and let you reach places you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. It’s a great idea on paper (pun intended), but the platforming itself doesn’t feel as tight as you’d like. Unravel wasn’t great in that regard either, but that game relies much more on its puzzles whereas A Tale of Paper has a lot of sections that are straight up platforming – where imprecise controls and sometimes awkward camera angles lead to frustration.
The puzzles, by comparison, are very casual in nature, and as a result you’ll likely wrap up the narrative in under two hours of gameplay time. During that time, I enjoyed the sweet narrative and art direction throughout all the different environments the game takes you through – which reminded me of games like Little Nightmares in places as well, without the weirdness but with a similar feel for light and dark.
The gameplay itself, besides the novel use of origami to shift between states, felt most generic though, and (combined with the short campaign length) makes A Tale of Paper seem like a potentially great concept that’s ultimately wrapped in too shallow a game. Those who enjoyed some of the games I mentioned here will most likely enjoy this take on the genre by Open House Games, but the experience isn’t as memorable as any of those games that came before.