With multiple indie developers taking up the Paper Mario mantle — in aesthetics and gameplay — Paper Animal RPG aims to do something a bit different with this crafty style. Developed by Cuddling Raccoons Studio, Paper Animal RPG is an utterly adorable take on the N64 Paper Mario's visuals, leaning into the slightly-more pixelated side, but it mixes up the RPG side with roguelike elements.
Cuddling Raccoons launched a Kickstarter for the game a few weeks ago, and has smashed past its $40,000 goal, and as part of that campaign, the game has also secured a Switch release, which seems like the perfect home for this pixelated paper party.
The developer touts the game as not only taking inspiration from Mario's paper-thin adventures but also the Mario & Luigi series. But, more interestingly, its roguelike side comes from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, a rather accessible spin-off of both Pokémon and the popular Mystery Dungeon roguelikes. The grid-like maps are procedurally generated, and you can choose from six cuddly characters who each specialise in a different stat or skill.
You can also equip stickers and customise your character's skills during a run, and (magazine collectors will love this) there are even holographic stickers that are even stronger — but much rarer. We're raring to get our collectible hats on for this.
For a full round-up of the game, check out this summary from the developer itself:
Paper Animal RPG is a cute roguelite game where you can explore a colorful world, fight scary enemies and relax with your friends at the campfire!
The game is inspired by and pays homage to the Paper Mario, Mario & Luigi as well as the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series.
Once upon a time, there was a small village, which was inhabited by many animals of all colors and sizes. The village was ruled by a kind king, who reigned with grace and maintained the order between the animals.
One day, the king suddenly disappeared!
A few days later, the village fell into despair and the once so cheerful days seemed gone forever. In the midst of chaos a group of brave adventurers emerged, determined to find the whereabouts of the king!
In Paper Animal RPG you'll explore the land, moving from dungeon to dungeon in search of the kind king. Each world and map is procedurally generated, which means that no playthrough will be the same, since the map'll look different each time! This includes the available items, skills and stickers you can find, as well as the events and NPCs you'll be able to encounter.
During your explorations you'll also face a great variety of enemies - ranging from cute ones to cute... and mildly scary ones. While tile-based and real-time battle systems are nothing new in themselves, Paper Animal RPG offers a fresh approach by combining them both into one unique experience.
In between dungeon floors, camp floors are spread about. These peaceful camps offer a great opportunity to cozy up, catch your breath, and take in the surroundings, but the more important thing is that you can manage your team and inventory there!
At a glance, the game offers these features - and depending on how well the campaign does, even new ones may be added!
- Procedurally generated maps!
- 6 adorable characters, specializing in power, utility and defense!
- A bunch of consumable items. Once you stea- ahem, "borrow", a cookpot from an enemy camp you can combine them and experiment with the results!
- Equip and upgrade skills suited to a character's role and customize your playstyle!
- Find stickers that grant passive abilities - if you get lucky you can even find more powerful, holographic ones!
- Defeat mean bosses, which have each an even stronger version when you start a Rewind Run!
- Classic Mode is too hard? Try Casual Mode, which features tweaked gameplay settings for an easier experience!
- Compete against other players for a global online high score who played with the same generation seed as you in Tournament Mode!
- Numerous unlockable achievements, which guide you to explore all aspects of the game!
Looking at Paper Animal RPG, as if a Paper Mario game came out on the Game Boy Advance — except you can play as a chick who doesn't like sunscreen or a frog that loves spicy candy — and we're in love with that idea.
From cooking to camping, dino egg hatching and suspiciously-familiar '?' boxes, Paper Animal RPG looks like a total delight. Just check out these screens for a little look at this deceptively cosy game:
Paper Animal RPG doesn't have an official release window yet, and there's still a week left on the game's Kickstarter, so hopefully, we'll hear a bit more about release plans in the near future. But we do know that the Switch release will be getting a physical version!
Let us know if you want to get folding in Paper Animal RPG in the comments below!