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Paper Beast is one of those games that’s hard to describe, at its core it could be called a puzzle game but when you play it it feels like so much more than that. As you go through the whimsical world of Paper Beast you find that a lot of the time you’ll be guiding some of the game’s creatures through various troubles and as you help them through it also helps you to proceed, in fact helping them is the only way for you to progress. The way that you help them depends on the situation, for example there might be some creatures that are trying to get up a slippery hill and reach a tree and you have to use clumps of dirt or a dirt eating worm to provide a path for them that they can walk on to reach the top. Another time you’ll find yourself in a windy valley with slow moving heavy creatures and you have to use them to help the lighter creatures, which are affected by the wind, over the hill.
Paper Beast is one of those VR games that doesn’t use locomotion as a means of movement and has you teleporting about the place, not only does this cut down on the chances you’ll experience any VR related sickness but it’s also a much quicker method of travel. Luckily there’s no time limit imposed on any part of the game so you can take as long as you need to solve any of the given puzzles but you may find that you use a lot of the time just playing in the world and making use of the wonderful physics before you actually do any of the puzzle solving, that and the extra play time can give you a better understanding of what each of the creatures is capable of and how you can take advantage of their unique abilities to get through the current section. The way you interact with the world is through the use of Move Controllers, you can teleport, rotate your view and also pick up or grab various objects or beasts to influence them, this includes picking up or dragging the animals to direct them or picking up an item they’re interested in to get them to follow it.
If you can’t get enough of the strange world that is Paper Beast then you’ll be glad to know there’s a sandbox mode that allows you to control the environment, weather and drop in any flora and fauna you encountered on your journey and see how they get on together. This sandbox mode adds a bit of replayability to the main game in that to have access to everything, there are little coloured clay like blobs you have to find littered around the game world and each one will give you access to a different creature or plant for your sandbox world. The area you get in the sandbox is relatively small, though you can change your size at will to be as small as an insect or large enough to see the land as a whole. You can add or remove land and water, change the gravity in certain places and even drastically alter the climate. The way you interact with the sandbox depends on how you want play, you could have a peaceful area where the animals have a lot of food and nothing bad happens or you could get a little crazy with it and drop in hordes of predators to feast on your animals and then out of nowhere flash freeze the landscape. It’s a great feature but the enjoyment you have with it could be short lived due to the limited number of things you can do with it.
Paper Beast is a sight to behold, it’s weird and confusing some of the time but it’s also strangely compelling. The puzzles are some of the more innovative that I’ve come across while playing in VR, given that you have to use the world and its creatures to get trough rather than pushing dusty stone blocks or activating various switches. If you have a VR I would recommend you try this for yourself but if not, I happened to record my own playthrough and if you’re interested, you can watch it here.
If you want to buy Paper Beast it’ll be available on the PlayStation Store on March 24th, until then you can visit this website to learn more about it.