Origami, in case you’re unaware, is the art of paper folding. You start with a blank sheet of paper and then it’s up to you to use your imagination and dexterously precise fingers to fold and craft it into anything you like. It’s not unusual to see this artform pop up in games; Heavy Rain for example.
A Tale of Paper: Refolded utilises this method as you play as a piece of paper that’s been folded into a magical character who goes on a journey of escape and intrigue. It’s a lovely journey too – but it does inflict some paper cuts along the way.
The Refolded nature of this release sees an extra package of new content bundled together from the original release of A Tale of Paper from a few years back. The story feels very much like a Little Nightmares game, especially in terms of the visual template, the use of a 2.5D platform world to explore and the way it tells the story visually.
The story follows a magical paper creature with eyes and two magic antennae on top of its head. It escapes a house, heads through some sewers, and out of the city into the countryside. There are characters and enemies it meets along the way, including a robot hoover who will suck you up in no time, and a huge spider which will happily chase you down the sewers.
After this journey has finished – in the couple of hours it takes to complete – A Tale of Paper: Refolded pretends to finish but in reality you have another journey of a similar type of paper character that takes it to new locations. I love a bit of visual storytelling and it cannot be denied that A Tale of Paper has roots in games like Inside and Limbo, but it tells its own tale which is at times sweet and fascinating to play. The character is adorable and it’s a pleasure to experience the journey with it.
Gameplay wise, A Tale of Paper: Refolded feels and acts like a normal platformer where we move across the world, from left to right, but you can also move 360 degrees around the place as well; opening things up. This is good, but the camera sometimes has its own mind and struggles to catch up with where you are going, especially when you are moving up and down through a level. At one point I had to restart, rolling back to a checkpoint because I couldn’t find where my character had gone.
The inventive part of the game is found within the origami sections. You see, you can at points – as well as take in the normal platform tropes of pulling switches, jumping and solving mini puzzles – change shape. Yes, with a touch of each button you gain different shapes to turn into. For example, a small frog will give you a much bigger jump or a little bird will provide you with a double jump equivalent. You even get to scrunch up into a ball of paper in order to roll down pipes to get to other areas. It’s a lovely feature, one that is used really well throughout. In fact, there are some seriously inventive uses of the mechanics on show.
Visually and A Tale of Paper certainly has that Little Nightmares feel; the perspective of having something very small travel through a human-sized world. Objects, boxes, and doorways are huge as our little origami person works their way through them. There is some nice attention to detail in the backdrops and some great use of the origami shapes the character can produce. I personally liked the variation of worlds that can be experienced, from the cramped interiors through to the more lush outside areas. Visually it’s great, but whilst the soundscore is fine and there are some nice pieces of music to help you through, it can all get a bit repetitive at times.
A Tale of Paper: Refolded is a short experience that will take you a few hours to complete. But that’s not a bad thing and you’ll enjoy your time, without it ever outstaying its welcome. Some of the gameplay mechanics are inventive and unique, whilst the visual story is good as well. There are occasionally problems with the camera, which isn’t particularly ideal, and the platforming bits don’t do anything original, yet on the whole this is a great little experience which will tempt you in to wanting to learn more about the art of folding paper.
A Tale of Paper: Refolded is on the Xbox Store