August 27, 2023

Arcade Classics Meet Modern Artistry - Paper Planet (Steam) Review

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Arcade Classics Meet Modern Artistry - Paper Planet (Steam) Review

By Joel | August 27, 2023
Merging the whimsy of hand-drawn heroes with the thrill of roguelike challenges, Paper Planet turns the humble doodle into your mightiest ally.

Planet Paper is one of those games that takes the best of Gyrus and Tempest and rolls them into one fun and challenging game. For the uninitiated, Gyrus and Tempest are classic arcade games from the golden age of gaming. Gyrus, with its tubular space shoot-outs, and Tempest, with its dizzying vector-based vortex gameplay, have found a beautiful marriage in Doodle Games' recent indie offering.

Every Sketch Has Its Day

Paper Planet is to visuals what pop-up books are to literature: simplistic on the surface, but unfolding layers of complexity as you dig deeper. Comparing the game's aesthetic to origami feels about right as the intricacies lie in the folds, where the mere crease of a paper can breathe life into a character, or in this case, an entire world.

The world of Paper Planet is almost like your childhood art class coming to life. Remember the joy of making those stick figures dance across the pages of your notebook? This game captures that very essence, presenting a universe where doodles evolve and engage, all while dancing to the rhythm of bullets, explosions, and chaos.

Drawn to Danger

At its core, Paper Planet is a rogue-lite, bullet-hell extravaganza. Situated at the center of a vast galactic space, players are tasked with defending their paper-crafted planet from a barrage of alien invaders. Each alien downed contributes to a points tally, which, when saved up, can be spent on upgrading your arsenal and bolstering your defenses. Weapon progression is paramount here, as complacency will see players swiftly overwhelmed by the ever-increasing onslaught of doodled doom.

And the gameplay is not merely based on obliterating hostile invaders either. Your defensive tactics must be as varied as the threats you face. For example, while your planet can shrug off the blows from yellow missiles, your turret cannot, necessitating a dance of precision shooting and evasive maneuvers.

On the flip side, red missiles leave your planet utterly defenseless, compelling you to activate its protective shield. These elements elevate the gameplay from a typical bullet-hell frenzy to a more tactical ballet of strategy, demanding both finesse and forward-thinking for survival

The game also features a local co-op mode accommodating up to four (4) players, which significantly amplifies its replay value. However, as this review pivots on the single-player experience, I'll reserve judgment on the multiplayer dynamics at another time..

Merging the whimsy of hand-drawn heroes with the thrill of roguelike challenges, Paper Planet turns the humble doodle into your mightiest ally.

A Few Creases in the Folds

Despite how good the gameplay is, no game is without its flaws, and Paper Planet has a couple tucked beneath its paper folds. First, several of the powerups feel disproportionately overpowered, turning levels into lopsided affairs as you can simply sit back and just hold down the fire button and eliminate all the threats on screen.

Secondly, while the journey is packed with chaotic pandemonium, the destination arrives a tad too soon. A few more sittings, and players might find themselves yearning for an endless mode or more menacing bosses to challenge their doodle defending prowess.

While both the classic keyboard/mouse combo and the controller strut their stuff commendably, there's an undeniable charm to the tactile feel of a controller. The feel of its motion marries flawlessly with the game's orbital mechanics, making you glide seamlessly through the most heated stints of cosmic chaos.

And yet, in a twist of tech irony, my first try with the controller setup played hard to get. It took a few rounds of plugging-then-unplugging before the game was able to recognize my controller. Here's hoping for a quick fix to resolve this minor nuance.

Merging the whimsy of hand-drawn heroes with the thrill of roguelike challenges, Paper Planet turns the humble doodle into your mightiest ally.

From Scribbles to Supremacy

All-in-all, in a gaming universe brimming with newly released titles, it's a breath of fresh air to play something that harks back to simpler times, yet doesn't feel dated. Paper Planet seamlessly fuses the nostalgia of childhood sketches with the thrill of arcade classics.

Yes, it could do with a few more folds and creases to enhance its longevity, but as it stands, it's an experience that's undeniably worth the, um, paper it's drawn on. So, if you're looking for a visually striking, gameplay-packed joyride through a world of pen and paper, Paper Planet is the cosmic journey for you.

Looking to read more indie reviews? Check out our review page here.

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