WASD April 2024 Coverage - Paper Trail

Article by Adam Ray

WASD in London is always a phenomenal event for any gamer of any kind to play the hottest new titles coming soon to a console near you. There are so many titles that you truly get to play all kinds of gaming experiences. Much like A Little to the Left in WASD 2023, sometimes I want a jasmine pearl tea and the chance to let my mind expand in a peaceful game.

Paper Trail is a quaint but thoughtful puzzle platformer game by Newfangled Games - their first title which has already had its praises sung with multiple award wins and nominations. It has the soft and relaxing colour palette of a meditation garden but the trippy, physics warping puzzle platforming gameplay of Portal or Lightmatter. 

For the tragically short time I played it, Paper Trail hugged me with its visuals and confounded me with its excellent puzzle gameplay.

The story of the game is surprisingly rich given the genre. We are constantly treated to the voiceover narration of Paige as she escapes her home to study. We feel the immersion of the setting with the strange narrations of the various other characters along the way.

It's clear that the biggest draw is its gameplay. Each puzzle level is made solvable if you treat the level itself like a sheet of paper. There have been many games that play with perspectives like it, but there's a subtle elegance in how well it's handled in this title. You literally fold the level in on itself like origami to make the path for Paige to follow. 

The perspective changes constantly as the level goes on, as does the difficulty slope. While this makes for exciting gameplay, Paper Trail never punishes you for not figuring things out. The hint menu shows you the right folds to solve the level, but still keeps the challenge up by not showing what to do with the interactable items in each level. Also the hint screen is set up to look like origami fold directions which is just a delightful way to have the function of the hit screen match the theme of your game.

Paper Trail has quickly become one of my puzzle favourites and one I see myself playing to great lengths. Wishlist it for yourself and play the demo for it right now on Steam.

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