Paperbound (PS4) Review

Fun with friends only.

Party games are fun in many aspects. The thrill of beating the snot out of your opponents while they sit next to you and rubbing it into their faces is always a fun joking time. Many games handle it so well too. Of course, back in the day, this was really the only option we had to play multiplayer games, and back then it was a staple. Now, with this new technology known as “the internet”, we can play with our friends down the street or a continent away. It has become very convenient. I give you this really lame history lesson to set up something – many people including myself, don’t really play games locally anymore.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some that love to have some buddies over to break out Rock Band or fight a bit in Super Smash Bros., but in the end, those games have online multiplayer as well. Local multiplayer, while novel, remains just that in modern times. Paperbound is one of those relics that feel like a game that came out 10 years late, but still has the potential to be really fun.

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Platforms: PS4, PC
MSRP: $9.99
Price I’d pay: $5
Multiplayer: Local only

Paperbound is an arena brawler in the same vein as the party fighting games like PlayStation All-Stars and Super Smash Bros. Players take control of various characters and duke it out in different modes using pencil swords, ink bombs and scissor throwing weapons. On top of all that, there is a gravity changing mechanic where the player can change gravity for their character, allowing them to reach the ceiling of the arena, as well as run on practically any surface, no matter the direction. So, running up a wall, changing the gravity for my character and then falling to the wall on the other side of the map is totally viable.

Arena for any occasion.

There are multiple modes, including capture the flag and king of the hill type games that can be played in teams. Arenas are broken down into different types of books for visual and environmental aspects. Each has their own feel, whether it is with hazards on the playing field or different obstacles in the way that offer more traversal options. Some arenas are large and offer more breathing room, while other maps are smaller and are all about the fighting. One issue I had, along with my friends playing with me – the characters can sometimes be a bit too small on the screen, and when jumping around and attacking it was easy to lose track of where my character was.

Along with original characters, Paperbound has recruited multiple characters from other games including Captain Viridian from VVVVVV and Juan Aguacate from Guacamelee. While controlling them feels the same for the most part, the AI feels different from one character to the next. Some are more defensive while others may be very aggressive.

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A friend in need.

Paperbound works and it works well. It really does. What hurts this game the most this the fact that this is a local multiplayer game only. While playing with friends on the couch, it can be a blast in short bursts, but if players are looking for a single player experience, they’re not going to find it here. Sure, I could take on multiple bots, but that grew stale within about ten minutes. The lack of any kind of online component is the downfall of Paperbound. Let’s face it, times have changed and many people’s multiplayer experiences are done through online play now.
Like I said, Paperbound is a fine game, but it must be noted that if you do not have local friends to play with, this game will last you about ten minutes and you will be done with it.

For a party game, it’s a fun, frantic time for about 30 minutes every once in a while, but this will still just be a game you’ll want to boot up when people are around. It’s unfortunate too, because the mechanics are simple and interesting enough for me to play some with my buddies over the PSN, but that is not an option. For ten dollars you get a game that really is just a multiplayer game that you can only enjoy with friends at your house. For some that could be a bit of an undertaking in and of itself. But if you can get three friends to play with you, you can have a decent time with it.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Good

  • Interesting mechanics
  • Diverse arenas
  • Nice look and characters

Bad

  • Characters can be too small on the screen
  • No online multiplayer
  • No real single player
5.5

Mediocre

Drew is the Community Manager here at ZTGD and his accent simply woos the ladies. His rage is only surpassed by the great one himself and no one should stand between him and his Twizzlers.
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