I’ve been waiting to play this hilarious title since first hearing about it a couple of months ago. Paperville Panic is the debut VR title from Australia-based indie studio, Ultimerse. It takes you to a town called Paperville, which (surprise, surprise) is made entirely out of paper and silly characters. This action-adventure starts with you on your first day as the new rookie firefighter at the fire department when the town suddenly experiences its first fire ever. I mean, a raging fire in a town made entirely out of paper? Inconceivable! But we’re just going to don our fireman’s hat, pick up our water pistol and axe, and dive right into the fire.
Paperville Panic is now available in Early Access on Steam for HTC Vive at $19.99, though it has a launch discount of 25% off, which puts it at $14.99 until December 20. I tried the game and loved the atmosphere of the town as well as the zany quirks the developers put in. Though there were some bugs and gameplay issues, which I will describe below, I still enjoyed the experience immensely and loved the colorful low-poly art style.
Check out my gameplay video below:
Being a firefighter is hard work. You have to douse flames, get people out from under debris, see a person sitting in a bathtub surrounded by flames, axe down a door to find a perv waiting for you on his bed, and shoot panicking groups of people whose heads are on fire with water. It’s all in a day’s work. Well in Paperville it is.
Being the rookie firefighter, I was really not prepared for all the things I was about to face, like a runaway truck full of fireworks that double as homing missiles. Yeah I’m not sure how that works either. Which is probably the point of this game – you play the rookie with no idea how this world works, and it really feels like it too. But it’s not hard to get into things and I soon found myself happily axing anything that could be axed (which was doors mostly) while lifting debris off of helpless square-headed paper people, to become the hero that the people did not want, but needed. There’s also my boss, an enigmatic paperman who mysteriously stays away from the danger but keeps giving me advice through a walkie-talkie.
Just Put a Paperclip in it
Equipped with my trusty water pistol (which really just looks like a plastic water gun) I could splash some drops on flames which would then die down, inside a paper building. Yup, it worked. The gun and the axe – which served as my main tools in the game – worked pretty well. Though there were some bugs here and there, such as the axe would only clip to my side at certain times and at other times just fell to the floor. But for the most part, I only found minor issues that should be filtered out during the game’s EA run. So to a degree, the game feels quite polished.
Visually, Paperville Panic is very pleasing as well. There’s a certain whimsy you can get away with in a town made entirely out of paper. Though much hilarity was added as well via little details like a poster at the local theater reading “50 Shades of Construction Paper”. Small details like these are scattered throughout the town and the missions, and I felt distracted most of the time as I tried to spy all of the added details to the environments. Which didn’t bode well for my ability to stay alive. Especially when there are flaming barrels and homing firework missiles zooming at me from all angles. But even so it was a lot of fun to search them out and I think a second playthrough is definitely warranted just so I can spy everything there is to see.
Paperville Doles Out Some Papercuts
The game certainly holds its fair share of frustrations as well though. Paperville Panic only supports teleportation currently, which is fine in most cases, but in certain missions, it can start to feel quite debilitating. Especially when the previously mentioned missiles or shards of burning paper are flying at my face. Because I have to stop what I’m doing to turn around or teleport in circles to get away, which breaks immersion quite effectively. Then, the water gun, which is quite fun to use most of the time, feels nerfed at some of the more critical points in the game when the water pressure goes up way too fast and comes down slowly. Which means that those flames I just got under control, quickly turn into walls of raging fire again. Though this added a certain level of difficulty to the game too, which was not unwelcome.
Overall, when looking at the Early Access release version of the game, I can say without a doubt that Paperville Panic is shaping up to be a polished and explosively entertaining title. Though beware that even though the graphics look colorful and inviting – this is not a kid-friendly game. The humor leans more towards satire/vulgarity, much like in Accounting or Rick & Morty: Virtual Rick-Ality. So if you’re looking for a silly but challenging experience set in a strange paper-crafted world then be sure to look Paperville Panic up in the phone book. Or just get it on Steam.