Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Remember that scene in American Beauty when the plastic bag gets caught in the wind? That's the kind of mundane beauty Paperchase offers. But while it is very pretty, it's also about as fleeting as a summer breeze.
In Paperchase, players fly a paper airplane as far as they can through endless city. The city itself is an impressive and realistic 3D creation. Thanks to the colorful Chinese New Year theme, the streets and alleyways players swerve through are decorated with bright lights and paper balloons. Cars and buildings are well-modeled, and the plane itself exhibits great papery texture. However, the game seems to have chosen quality of details over quantity of environments. While the handful of different city sections all look lovely, players will tire seeing them again and again.
This is also because Paperchase is a relatively unchallenging game. To maintain their flight, players must reach successive kanji-marked checkpoints before time runs out. Checkpoints become further spaced out over time, but the time limit grows accordingly, so the difficulty plateaus instead of ramping up. The generous allotment of power-ups like speed boosts and coin magnets make the game even more of a cake walk. Besides managing time, players must also consider the health of their plane. Take too many hits and it becomes an adorably pathetic crumpled paper ball with much more limited mobility. But still, even casual players should be able to last upwards of two dozen rounds without much of a problem.
The game promises an upcoming story mode, complete with new rooftop, sewer, and subway environments, and maybe that will increase the challenge. But right now, Paperchase works far better as a breezy way to relax, not a tense endless action game. The glorious and triumphant music speaks to that fact. Honestly, the one thing that might give players some trouble is the control scheme. Tilting to steer isn’t terrible, but the stiff and jerky animations clash with the fluid realism of the visuals. It almost looks like the plane skips frames of animation as it transitions to different flight angles.
This sounds more condescending than it should, but Paperchase is like an extremely excellent interactive screensaver. Later content may give it more heft, but right now it’s a pretty lightweight time sink.