These Marble Madness-like games just keep on coming! Last month I reviewed Glyph, and now today I will be reviewing Paperball Deluxe, a cute platformer with a paper ball made by a cat. Yeah. That’s the truth, and it is a bizarrely fun, yet quite flawed, game.
So is this game worth falling out over and over and over again? Or is Paperball Deluxe an art project destined for the bin?
Art class has required all the cats in class to make a project using recycled materials, so our main protagonist has a great idea for a game! She’s going to use recycled paper to construct balls and dioramas to create a game where you need to move the diorama around to guide the paper ball to the goal.
It is a cute little idea that definitely glues everything together, and the story and main character are a lot of fun.
However, the actual gameplay is where things get a bit rough.
For the most part, levels and controls work appropriately. You move the diorama around to move the ball in the proper direction to avoid obstacles and ledges en route to the goal at the end of each stage. When it works, it can be a lot of fun, but there are a couple areas that baffle the mind.
First of all, the physics are all over the place and make no sense whatsoever. The paper ball randomly acts as if it has loads of lead inside of it, and it will roll at speeds that are insanely fast. Remember, this is supposed to be a paper ball, something of light weight and density. However, often throughout my gameplay, I saw the speed in the bottom corner blast over 100 km/h (Even over 1000 km/h when falling off the stage), which seems a bit too fast for a ball of paper.
Even tilting a diorama at an extreme angle should not cause such speed, and sadly, this makes certain stages infuriating when you are trying to control the speed of a ball that some times has a mind of its own.
The tilt controls are mostly fine, but there are the random stages that require significantly more of the player than others, which brings me to my next critique: the difficulty spikes are outrageous.
Even in the Novice box, which has 20 stages, there are a handful that feel like they belong in Expert. For casual players wanting to enjoy the game, they might immediately find the strange spikes in difficulty to be intimidating. It only gets worse as you play through the game, as the Intermediate box has stages in it that feel damn-near impossible compared to most of the stages in that section. The Expert and Champion boxes are just pure nightmares because of the combination of poor physics and insane expectations in some of the levels.
Stages have limited time to clear, and the faster you clear them, the better the medal you receive. Naturally, grabbing those gold medals is even more of a challenge thanks to the problems mentioned, but the feeling when you blaze through a stage (Or even cheese one) and earn the gold is genuinely exciting.
The art style is definitely the highlight of the game. Stages are crafted wonderfully, and the idea of everything being made with paper is a cool gimmick that works really well. The only weird thing about the stages are the ones with rotating parts, because some times they can be hard to play with the tilting moving one way and the rotating parts moving another.
Paperball Deluxe also supports HD rumble and gyro controls, but you can also move the dioramas with the left stick. I did find the gyro to be a bit easier to use, and the combination of using the right stick to adjust the camera angle helped a lot in regard to seeing around corners. The HD rumble is always a nice addition on Switch games, but this one does overkill it, especially when falling off the stages.
Finally, the music in the game is a lot of fun! It is simple, but it gets the job done and really fits into the theme really well. The voice acting, when it is used, is also pleasant, but it is a little cheesy (Which again goes with the theme).
When the game works well, it is a lot of fun, but it is unfortunately marred by massive problems that really hurt the experience as a whole. It is so unfortunate too, because Paperball Deluxe boasts a ton of content and hours and hours of potential gameplay. It even has a local multiplayer option for co-op and competitive modes, but sadly, these are also affected by the physics and difficulty problems.
It is honestly hard for me to recommend Paperball Deluxe at its full price, especially in its current state. Even at a discount, the game’s issues will still cause more frustration than overall fun. Hopefully Cliax Games, the team behind the game, will recognize what’s going on and address these issues in a future update. But for now? This is a below average take on the Monkey Ball formula, and there are significantly better options out there.
Cute art style
Fun little story
Loads of content
Physics are all over the place
Difficulty makes absolutely no sense at times
Controls are a bit awkward
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.