Papetura is a bite-sized atmospheric adventure game that will take you only a couple of hours to complete. Created by the small team at Petums, the story follows Pape, a lonely paper creature trapped in a flowery prison in danger of being burned down. Players take control of Pape to escape this prison, but along the way, Pape finds and saves Tura, a magical creature that helps Pape but also transforms the course of their adventure.
As Pape explores their prison, players will have to solve a series of puzzles that range from shooting objects with the help of Tura to lighting a series of flower buds. The initial puzzles are relatively basic and straightforward; while none of the later puzzles are particularly hard, they become more unique and varied. Because of this, Papetura is an easy play, consisting of a handful of puzzles that don’t require much skill to complete, which is not a negative. I can see Papetura being a great way to destress at the end of the day.
While the puzzles don’t require much skill or even logic to solve, a couple were vexing because they required a lot of trial and error. For example, Pape needs to light a room filled with orbs by shooting them. But it’s a bit like pinball, where your projectile ricochets off the orbs, bouncing into other orbs to light them. Hitting an already-lit orb turns it off, and figuring out the angle at which your projectile will bounce off the orbs can be challenging. Additionally, Pape moves at a languid pace. There’s no running mechanic, so you’re stuck waddling around. While this wouldn’t be bad on its own, the fact that backtracking is required to solve some puzzles means that you’ll be stuck shuffling back and forth quite a bit.
Papetura is devoid of language. Instead, the characters interact with each other through gestures and speech bubbles that show pictures instead of words. Generally, these help players figure out how to solve puzzles, but they also help tell the story of Pape and Tura. And this is where the game becomes confusing. The world these characters live in is already foreign, but their motivations are even more so. Who or what is the dark creature all the paper creatures fear? Why is Pape here? What is Tura? There are a lot of questions that go unanswered, but even with all these questions, the game is still enjoyable. And given that the point of Papetura is to be an atmospheric experience above all else, it certainly accomplishes this in its short length.
The biggest draw for this odd, quaint game is the handmade environments made from paper. It creates a truly unique look that would be hard to replicate. The paper crafting adds an alienness to the environment while still having a hint of familiarity. And the way the light filters through the paper, becoming distorted in the folds and crinkles, is quite beautiful. The music by Floex only compounds the feeling that Pape’s world is as fragile as paper, especially as Pape’s world begins to burn.
Papetura is a unique experience, from handcrafted paper environments to quirky characters and puzzles. While I wish there was more to the story and a few puzzles don’t quite hit the mark, Papetura absolutely achieves what it was made to be: an atmospheric experience.
Papetura is available now on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
- Rating - 8/108/10
While I wish there were more to the story and a few puzzles don’t quite hit the mark, Papetura absolutely achieves what it was made to be: an atmospheric experience.