I’m becoming tired of video games after 15 years. I’ve had deja vu in most games lately. However, after playing Paper Cut Mansion this weekend, I’m remembering why I started into this pastime. It’s the craziest and most enjoyable game released this year.
Technically, no. Paper Cut Mansion is a basic roguelite dungeon crawler. You control a paper Groot who travels to a spooky home for some reason. Your aim is to escape by solving puzzles, navigating mazes, and fighting papery villains to figure out why everything is so creepy.
Its many catches make it more fascinating than this year’s other paper-based puzzler. The game is similar to Going Under in that you must navigate several settings to acquire clues and powerups to conquer it without dying, but its details are more intriguing. In Paper Cut Mansion, you must go to various dimensions within the mansion to complete the game, unlike in a 2.5D dungeon-em-up where battle changes with new foes.
Its narrative is equally intriguing. Without ruining anything, it’s not War and Peace or Call of Duty. It’s reminiscent of late 90s horror/adventure games, and there are enough twists and turns to make it worth enduring its odd gameplay and simple puzzles. Over the game’s skill-dependent duration, your character grows into more than a cardboard cutout, so it’s worth enduring the game’s physical and figurative paper dragons to see how things turn out.
Despite its gameplay, Paper Cut Mansion’s aesthetics are bizarre. In 2022, talking about a game’s technological elements seems meaningless (even if I do in every review), but this game’s is remarkable. The aesthetics are weird, but they work nicely to create jump scares and suspense in what would otherwise be a logic-based puzzler with minor fighting. It’s one of the few contemporary products that achieve that, and since aesthetics are passively crucial in a medium that’d otherwise be outdated due to books, it enriches the experience.
Audio is similar. In this case, talking about music is not foolish. Like the aesthetics, the music as you travel through a bizarre to eerie plot is amazing and adds to the gameplay while sounding nice enough to make my Spotify spooky season playlist.
Paper Cut Mansion is a terrific game when those tunes, beautiful graphics, passively novel 2.5D logic puzzles, trans-dimensional travelling, and weird battling are combined. In a genre full of bland and unoriginal titles, this isn’t. Its graphics improve its gameplay, its gameplay is strong, and its creepy but familiar plot is worth its weight in metaphorical paper. Paper Cut Mansion is one of the best one-off indie games released recently, despite its poor animations and passively derivative nature.