A Tale of Paper is an adventure game built on a simple premise. Using the power of origami, a paper figure must try to fulfil the dreams of its late creator, solving puzzles, traversing pitfalls, and discovering a deeper understanding of transformation in the process.
Clocking in at around an hour and a half to complete, A Tale of Paper is a short, but sweet journey that doesn’t overstay its welcome. Its eight chapters take you through several different environments that challenge not only your ability to platform, but also your skill in solving puzzles. The puzzles aren’t too challenging though, and typically take a few seconds to figure out.
The platforming, however, is not great. A Tale of Paper suffers from the same issue that many 3D platformers have, which is giving you the feedback to measure and understand distance and depth when jumping. Many of the platforming sections can quickly become tiresome, banal experiences because I spent my time fighting with the game’s physics. Couple this issue with some questionable hit detection on smaller platforms, and you’ve quickly got a recipe for repetition.
Using origami, your figure takes the shape of numerous animals in order to traverse the world. It’s a neat concept that ties in perfectly with the story, bringing the gameplay and narrative together in a way that is satisfying. Unfortunately, the slightly off physics and hit detection can make some of these alternative shapes quite difficult to control, and you will once again fall into the trap of fighting with the game’s platforming segments.
A lot of the platforming problems could be alleviated by changing the camera’s location and potentially making it a little more dynamic. Having a fixed camera angle when trying to jump across intricate platforms is difficult and a game design decision that feels a touch outdated. This is an issue that persists throughout the entire journey, marring an otherwise beautiful journey from start to finish.
A Tale of Paper is a great-looking game, although you can see the limitations of the team in places. What it does do well is paint believable environments with an impressive level of detail. Each area is carved out with additional assets in the background, making the world feel tangible. This is most noticeable in built-up areas, where human items and relics are scattered throughout the background.
Each environment is accompanied by a stunning score that only seems to elevate the game with each passing level, swelling into an emotional climax at the peak of the narrative. The music perfectly conveys the emotional weight of the story, which is needed considering there is essentially no dialogue throughout the game.