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Developer: Crescent Moon Games
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Paper Monsters is a traditional platformer for iOS devices, one that adheres to many genre conventions, and that is both what makes it strong and holds it back at times. Players control a smiling, papercraft-style protagonist who runs and jumps his way through 16 levels containing floating platforms, hazardous enemies, and secrets to discover.

The game has the overall feel of a Mario title, with the hidden items to collect, the pipes to travel in, and even the underwater levels carry hints of that classic series. It’s a far more traditional platformer than many on the App Store, which makes it stand out, in a way. Put this game on the 3DS, and it would be a perfect fit, especially with the level sections that take place deeper in the background. The game also comes with a bonus minigame, Drag ‘n Dash, that is an endless runner mode. It’s not just a fun distraction that uses the same mechanics of the traditional platformer mode in an endless runner context, it also awards players with gold buttons that can be used to buy cosmetic upgrades for the main mode’s protagonist. Otherwise, gold buttons are entirely optional, though additional ones are available through IAP.

Paper Monsters‘ protagonist runs at a speed that’s just slow enough to be frustrating. A run function of some sort would make the game just feel much better. The controls never really feel comfortable; both the floating and static joysticks are difficult to accurately control with. The endless runner mode is fun, sure, but I feel kind of disappointed that it uses a different character from the main game. Especially considering that gold buttons can be earned in this mode, controlling the benefactor of those buttons would be appreciated!

So, for fans of platformers, this game doesn’t break any barriers, but is a familiar, enjoyable experience. Of course, it also comes with the traditional trappings of a Crescent Moon title: incredibly polished visuals, and it is universal to boot. It’s not groundbreaking, but I can think of worse ways to spend $0.99.

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