Paper Cut Mansion | PC Review
Paper Cut Mansion, developed by Space Lizard Studio and published by Thunderful Games, is a horror roguelite survival game. It is currently available to buy on Windows PC and Xbox, with PlayStation and Nintendo Switch to follow soon. For the purposes of this review I was playing on the Windows PC version, with a review key kindly supplied to us by Plan of Attack.
Paper Cut Mansion puts you in the shoes of Toby, a police detective who has arrived at a mysterious old mansion. You must investigate the goings on of the eerie mansion and collect evidence to add to your evidence board to try and get to the bottom of the mysteries held within. As with any roguelite, death is a vital part of the process, and each run will see you gaining new upgrades and abilities.
The gameplay loop takes place in three different dimensions where different aspects of the game take place. For example, one dimension is where you’ll find objects and such that you need to progress, and another dimension is where you will encounter enemies where you’ll need to use combat skills. This aspect was a little bit confusing for me initially because it felt like it was not well explained. However, once I figured it out, it was an idea that really clicked with me. Initially I was walking around in one dimension and not able to do anything and couldn’t work out what I was doing wrong – this is where I got a little bit frustrated, but I went back to the original dimension and found my way immediately. I believe the whole idea of the different dimensions could have been improved with a little bit more explanation, because without fully understanding the purpose of the dimensions, the first few trips exploring them felt kind of pointless and confusing to me. If I was not familiar with dimension switching in the beginning, the game made it familiar to me quickly, because generally you had to switch between dimensions numerous times to complete an objective.
One of my favourite aspects of the game is definitely the visuals. The mansion and everything within it are built from paper and cardboard so everything had quite a unique feel for me compared to other roguelites I’ve played. For me, the art style very much reminded me of the pop-up children’s books which really fascinated me. Each dimension also had its own unique feel visually whilst still maintaining the same style. These kinds of visuals are always really appealing to me, and Paper Cut Mansion certainly didn’t disappoint on that front.
There are a number of concepts in play throughout Paper Cut Mansion so it caters to many people in so many different ways. Firstly, there is perma-death so when you die you lose everything, but alongside that it's a roguelite so death is simply an opportunity to progress further with more power and more knowledge of what's coming ahead. Next, there were a lot of puzzles to solve along the way and generally they were all pretty good. For as many different ideas as there are in play, you’d imagine the game to become quite difficult to manage; however, it's much the opposite. It is not terribly difficult, but the challenge certainly ramps up as you progress through the game. There are also areas in the game where you will make decisions that will alter the stories outcome and there are apparently an impressive 27 different endings that you could potentially get, which is far more than I expected, so this means there is a lot of replay value in the game to experiment with the different paths that you could take.
My biggest criticism of the game is that at times the mouse controls felt a little bit sluggish despite having increased my sensitivity and my mouse DPI being quite high, and the controls in general just felt a little bit clunky at times. I do imagine this to be more of a controller game, however, I couldn’t test that personally at this time. The controls weren’t awful enough that they got in the way, but they certainly could do with a little bit of refinement in my opinion.
Paper Cut Mansion was a wonderful experience. It felt familiar but also felt incredibly fresh with so many different things going on. Some of the elements were not terribly well explained in my opinion, but maybe I was just being a little dense, who knows. After quite a few runs things began to feel a little bit too “samey” for me, but perhaps that’s from my own failings, as in failing to stay alive. The price tag is certainly a fair one for the quality provided, so I would definitely recommend Paper Cut Mansion for value for money as well. Despite having put in quite a bit of time I certainly don’t feel “done” with the game yet which is always a big plus for me.
Lj’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Many thanks to Plan of Attack for the Review Key.