In an increasingly busy eShop with titles that are wildly inconsistent in quality, download games have to make an immediate impression to get noticed. With a lovely visual style, Mobot Studios' Paper Monsters Recut instantly stands out among the crowd — an enhanced port of a mobile game, Paper Monsters Recut is a fun, smooth experience with a lot of personality that should please fans of old-school, traditional platformers.
Taking place in a gorgeous paper-cut world that looks as if it were created by hand, Paper Monsters Recut is nonetheless a very traditional platformer. Players guide their adorable cardboard avatar through several different themed worlds, collect golden paperclips and special buttons in each stage, and fight a boss at the end of each world. Fans of the mobile game will be glad to know that Recut introduces more stages and an overworld that makes for a much more cohesive universe.
Player abilities are simple: run, jump, double-jump and jump on enemies' heads; the simplicity makes Paper Monsters Recut a very accessible game, but not one that's too easy. There are lots of hidden areas to explore within each stage, and getting every paperclip and button will satisfy collect-a-thon fans. Level design is top-notch, as well, with some Mutant Mudds-style foreground/background travel. With several worlds, hidden stages and mini-games to unlock, completionists should look forward to spending around 7-8 hours in Paperland. Unfortunately, boss battles are too easy and feel unimaginative at best, and lazily conceived at worst. Thankfully, this is the only area in which the gameplay stumbles.
For an enhanced port of a mobile game, Paper Monsters Recut is beautiful, with a rich colour palette and fun, cute characters. For the most part the visuals run smoothly and consistently — there is slowdown at the end of each stage, which is clearly the game trying to catch up to the player, and there appears to be a hiccup between menu screens; this doesn't detract too much from the overall experience, but it is noticeable. The development team clearly set out to make a game that is delightful to look at, however, and it's more than succeeded.
The sound design does, in contrast, leave a bit to be desired. For all the visual variety and style, the music — while totally adequate — is largely forgettable, generic fare. There are also no sound cues on the menus after making selections, and the menus pause a few moments while loading, making us wonder on more than one occasion if the game had frozen or crashed; it hadn't, and despite this impression it's perfectly stable. Had as much work gone into the rest of the presentation as went into the visuals, Paper Monsters Recut would be elevated to a whole other level.
That said, the GamePad is utilised quite nicely. By default, the GamePad acts as a menu/status screen, but it's also possible to switch to off-TV play, complete with sound — something that has been strangely missing from some download titles on the eShop.
Mobot Studios clearly put a lot of effort into this title, adding a new overworld and several new levels. The use of a physical controller as opposed to an iOS touch-screen makes Paper Monsters Recut the definitive edition of the game; though Paper Monsters Recut does unfortunately falter a bit technically, this lovingly crafted platformer is a fine addition to the eShop.