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Paperbound
Score: 78%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Dissident Logic
Developer: Dissident Logic
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Action/ Fighting

Graphics & Sound:
I hope youíre ready to throw down, in Paperbound! Ok, now that the terrible rhyme is out of my system, Paperbound is a free-for-all battle game developed and published by Dissident Logic where friends can just sit down and settle whoís the greatest. Hopefully you wonít repeat those Mario Party tragedies where friends would betray one another and relationships would be destroyed. Mario, you truly are a formidable foe.

Paperbound features very cartoony graphics and silly looking characters to fit the drawing theme. Stages have a more ancient land theme and vary depending on which book you select. The background is where most of the artwork for a stage comes from and, naturally, changes based on the book and the page within the book. Each book follows a specific theme as well, whether it be an ancient Egyptian theme or a spookier theme. You may find yourself fighting in an eerie cave, a spooky labyrinth, or even a beautiful sea. The backgrounds are merely for aesthetic purposes and offer no real impact on the match. Iíd say theyíre nice to enjoy in-game, but whenever youíre trying not to die, you tend not to notice them as much.

The music in Paperbound has a very adventurous feel to it. Of course, it changes based on which book and page you may be playing on. All of the music is instrumental, so it adds a nice ambience to the matches and also isnít overpowering at all. Donít expect too much though, as the music isnít that astounding. Players also neednít worry about dialogue too much, as there isnít any talking or text between characters.


Gameplay:
Paperbound is not that complex in terms of gameplay. You simply sit down with your friends and select from one of several game modes to play. There is no Story Mode, only Player versus Player, so you donít have to worry about grinding through a story to unlock new weapons or anything like that. In Paperbound, players simply decide what game mode they want to play, pick a character, pick a game type and stage, then get to work. Easy as that. The game features five books full of stages, and the count for each book varies between three and five. Of course, you are able to change the options and settings for each game mode, such as setting the amount of lives in Survival or the amount of kills needed to win in the Classic Versus Mode.

The controls in Paperbound are pretty simple for anyone to just pick up and play. Players move their character with the Left Stick and Jump with the (X) button. Players may invert the gravity of their character by pressing the (Triangle) button. Melee attacks will be your main method of dispatching your foes and can be performed by pressing the (Square) or (R2) buttons. Ink Bombs are used via the (L2) button and you can throw projectiles with the Right Stick. Doesnít get much simpler than that.

Paperbound features two different game modes, both with several different game types. The two modes are Free For All and Teams, and both are as they sound. In Free For All, four players fight in an all-out battle to fulfill the objective. In Teams, players are split into two teams of two and battle for the objective together. The Free For All Mode has three different game types players can select from and these are Classic Versus, Survival, and Long Live The King. Classic Versus challenges players to be the first to reach the point threshold which is decided on before the match. The first to reach the point threshold has a page tear open for them and they must go through the tear in order to win the match. If the player is killed, the tear will close and they must get another kill before they are allowed another tear. Survival challenges players to be the last player standing. Basically, you need to kill all your opponents while staying alive yourself. Once a player runs out of lives, theyíre out of the game. Again, the amount of total lives each character has is decided before the game. The Long Live The King Mode tasks players with getting the first kill to become king and then killing subsequent kings to obtain kingship. You win by scoring points by staying alive as the king, and the amount of points needed for victory can be set before the match begins. The Teams game mode features all three of these game modes in the exact same form, except you and another player compete with the enemy duo. Unlike the Free For All Mode, Teams Mode features a new game type called Capture The Quill. In this mode, you and your partner must work together to secure the enemy team Quill and bring it to your teamís ink pot. Itís basically a Capture the Flag game type and is pretty fun to play.


Difficulty:
Paperbound does not feature any set difficulty. The game can be easy or harder based on your skill level at playing, so donít blame the game if your friends who have never played videogames are wrecking shop. The bots difficulty level is unable to be changed as well and stays at a set difficulty level. They move and behave oddly at times though, going from trying to hunt me down to just doing whatever they may feel like doing. I personally prefer when they do the latter and let me go to town on them. Given how simple the controls are, Iíd say the game isnít that difficult at all to play. The hardest mechanic to get down may be the gravity inverting and it only takes a few minutes of tinkering to get it down. Ultimately, Paperbound is a simple game for anyone to play and have a decent time on, so donít sweat it.

Game Mechanics:
To take down your rivals, youíll need to have some strategy. The stages in Paperbound allow players to run up walls and on ceilings, so you can just endlessly run in circles. The strategy part comes from using the Invert command effectively. By pressing the (Triangle) button, players can invert gravity and reverse the gravitational pull on their character so they may perform awesome drop down assassinations on unsuspecting opponents. You can also use it as an escape mechanism if youíre being chased by a group or need to make a quick dodge. Itís a pretty handy feature all around, so use it as much as you can.

Beating people down with a giant pencil or an axe might be satisfying, but projectiles open a whole new world of possibilities. Paperbound equips players with two different projectiles, the Ink Bomb and Scissors. Ink Bombs are used by clicking the (L2) button and throwing it with the Right Stick. Ink Bombs cause a fairly large explosion and can be useful for taking out clustered enemies. Itís the perfect way to clean house. The Scissors are used by simply tilting the Right Stick without pressing any other button. If enabled in the Options, Scissors can remain in the ground after being thrown and picked up by other players. Theyíre a fast weapon and useful for quick precision kills, but can be hard to aim given the gravity mechanics. You can change how reloading these items work, or just have everyone spawn with infinite ammo for both. Itís your call.

Paperbound is a nice little game to play with a few buddies if you need to kill a few minutes before you go out. Itís not overly complex at all, so anyone can play as well. It canít compete with more involved multiplayer games, but I feel it stands in a league all its own in terms of silly player versus player environments. If youíre looking for a random game to surprise a couple of friends with, Paperbound would be a good choice.


-SS-54, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ren Plummer

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