Indie Review: The Great Paper Adventure
Xbox Live Indie Games
240 MS Points
Borrowing from popular side scrolling shooter titles such as Gradius, Phalanx and the like, The Great Paper Adventure is a story about a boy in a ship trying to get to his grandmothers house as he battles countless number’s of enemies. This all occurs as a dream sequence and, as it’s a cliche in terms of story telling, does it deliver in terms of appeal and entertainment?
The Great Paper Adventure has a beautiful style to it. Every piece of the game looks like a drawn cut out from a piece of paper, hence the name of the game, and it is very reminiscent of those sequential paper drawing flip books, minus the flipping. The animations are fluid and the imagination of the characters is diverse.
While some enemies are recycled throughout the title (by changing their appearance slightly to fit whatever motif the current level is) most of the enemies are unique and have a clear definitive character or purpose. From snowball throwing abominable snowmen to laser shooting dolphins, every enemy has a crazy side that only a dream could come up with.
Since the game is a side scrolling, horizontal shooter, the background is constantly moving sideways and this game shows some wonderful work of art as you move from left to right. From a level at sea with mermaids and pirates to a scary and spooky forest (Complete with the famous Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo) each level shows a decent amount of detail and showcases the work that went into this title.
While most of this game looks nice, the parts that could have been better detailed would have been some more of the shadows. Everything seems to use basic, simple, singular colors from a pallette. There are some enemies that show a slight hint of darkness and shading, but for the most part, the majority of the enemies you’ll encounter have next to no different shades to make them more believable. This rings true also for some of the background works. While most of them are beautiful and lush with creativity, they can be slightly lacking in shading.
As a side scrolling shooter, The Great Paper Adventure excels in it’s difficulty and craziness. Like most newer flight shooters, this title seems to be going for the “Bullet Hell” side of shooters. These types of games are determined to put a bunch of enemy projectiles on screen at once for the player to avoid and The Great Paper Adventure is no exception. At times you will have insane patterns of flying bullets, snowballs, cats and other random items trying to take you down. One hit is all it takes to take away one of your ships but thankfully the game does a good job of giving you plenty of lives to survive through the levels.
The game is equipped with a few different power ups for your gun. You start out with a single shooter that shoots single bullets. With an SMG upgrade, you can shoot 2 bullets at a time and as you keep upgrading with the SMG you can eventually have guns shooting in 3 different directions. You can opt to get different power ups as well such as the shotgun, which sprays three bullets at once in 3 directions, the flamethrower, which is a straight forward shooting gun but does massive damage to all enemies, rockets that can blow up a group of closely positioned enemies or the question mark box, which is just a bunch of random objects that are spewed out at your opponents and bounce around on screen for a while. While most of these are rather effective weapons, the question mark, which logically seemed to be the best idea, ended up being the worst of all of the power ups.
While it’s forgiving in the amount of lives it gives you, the game is not so forgiving in giving you opportune chances to get rid of your enemies before the screen fills itself with projectiles. The worst part of this game overall is that, at times, it will through enemies at you from a direction you’re unable to shoot in. As you are traveling left to right you’ll find enemies coming from the left of the screen. This does one of two things in that you will either be destroyed by an incoming enemy because you didn’t know where they were coming from and you were on the left side of the screen or you won’t be able to shoot them until they’ve passed your ship, giving them ample time to shoot at you and give you a run for your money. It’s a realistic and practical idea in it’s theory, but it’s application leaves you feeling frustrated and cheated.
Blasting out of the gate with music that seems like it should have been made for a Mega Man title, the beat and the rhythm will keep the feet tapping and the adrenaline pumping as each level progresses. There’s a new song that has it’s title generously shown at the beginning of each stage and another song for each boss battle. The songs never get old and are one of the most replayable pieces of this title.
With an electronica feel, most of the songs seem to be pulled straight out of the NES, SNES and Genesis age of video gaming. Having random sound bits and midi-type beats, every stage feels like much more of an adventure and battle than it would have with any other type of music.
For an Xbox Live Indie title, this game holds well to multiple playthroughs. It’s short enough to complete in about a half and hour and it’s entertaining enough to warrant at least one more playthrough, if not more. With the ability to have different weapon upgrades, having a challenge that doesn’t feel too overwhelming and an imaginative look, this game is definitely worth your time and at such a small price point, you’re probably better off playing this than some other, more expensive titles.
Replay Value- 8.75
- Creative look
- Fair challenge
- Great soundtrack
- Moderately Replayable
- Some lack of detail
- Occasional unfair enemy placement
- An unnecessary power-up
- Rather short
The Great Paper Adventure is a story that, albeit some spelling errors in the narrative, is decent enough to keep you playing. The gameplay is engaging despite a few faults and the look is unique and wonderful. If you have about $3 for an Indie title, I recommend this one as it is sure to entertain any fan of old school side scrolling flight games.
Replay Value- 8.75