Hello, everybody! Allow me to take you on a magical ride into storyland. I once waved my hands and foretold a nebulous launch date for Paperbound of “March 2015.” Entire weeks have passed, and some quantity of humans has been anxiously awaiting the happy ending for this tale.
By Jules Verne’s nightgown, the stars have aligned and the hallowed pages have revealed… oh, screw it. Paperbound will launch on March 31 in the Americas. It’s going to be $9.99. Think of all the butt-sitting hours of fun you can have with that.
By comparison, here are some other things you could buy with $10.
- 1.23 quality burritos. Estimated duration: 15 minutes.
- A ninja turtle toy. Estimated duration: depends on dog.
- One of those photo frames with the photo of the happy family. Estimated duration: a lifelong reminder of your family’s inadequacies.
- A bottle of water at Disneyland. Estimated duration: 30 nicely-hydrated minutes.
If you’re not familiar with Paperbound (shame on you), it’s a local multiplayer (that means a bunch of people on a couch), 2D brawler in which you enter the pages of old books to have twitchy battles and manipulate the direction of your own gravity. We have 11 original characters taken from these books, as well as a cabal of playable characters popping in from other games.
You use weapons like pencils, scissors, and ink bombs to take out your enemies in the most whimsically-satisfying way. Paperbound will feature all the wall walking and adorable decapitation you’ve come to love in other games, plus some newly-added and tricksy AI bots that are good for the following purposes:
- Embarrassing yourself (when they beat you)
- Filling the holes in your heart
- Evening out teams in 2v2 games
- Flying solo
Each bot has his/her own personality. For example, Mumsy (the one-eyed mummy) can be coy and keep his distance, tossing scissors when you come near. All the tossing and scissoring you can handle. Juan (making a guest appearance from Guacamelee!) is aggressive and pretty much doesn’t need anything but his fists. Jasmine doesn’t take crap from anybody and will hunt you down should you momentarily get the best of her.
The bots are something I decided to add recently because I know that not everyone has their friends over all the time. As fun as sleepovers are, sometimes your wife doesn’t appreciate them. So these bots are for all you lone wolves out there. They’re also good when you’ve only got one or two pals over and you want to play a sweaty, sweaty match of the 2v2 Capture the Quill game mode (or any of the other 2v2 modes).
I think they’re quite formidable (Mike, the character artist, lost 10 out of the first 12 matches he played against them), but some people are naturals and might think they need more of a challenge. Well, I’m glad to say that once you think you’ve mastered them in some of the easier arenas, the more chaotic ones like The Book of Void or Grinder (a sadistic arena from Dante’s Inferno) will cut you back down to size. There are 18 arenas from the pages of all 5 books (A Journey to the Center of the Earth, Skull Kingdom, A Book of Five Rings, The Book of the Dead, and Dante’s Inferno), so you’ll have plenty of challenges to face.
One thing that was a major goal for Paperbound was for the arenas to feel very different from each other, allowing for a lot of variety. And I think we’ve hit that mark, from the screen-wrap teleporting of The Book of Void to the springy platforms of Spirit Stones and the narrow channels of Labyrinth. Some arenas are tight, condensed experiences, such as The Book of Water, while Whirlygigs and others are expansive and allow you to really master navigation.
The Paperbound team is really excited to be hitting your PS4 at the end of the month. It’s a great platform for Paperbound because you can get your best friends alternatively staring at the same screen and then giving each other menacing glares. This a type of experience that’s making a bit of a comeback, and I’m happy that Paperbound can be at the forefront of it.