Positivity is a high demand commodity in the modern world. From seeking advice from life coaches and self-help books to constant searches on websites and forums, we are on a neverending pursuit to find the silver lining in life. But what if we were always forced to be happy? What if we were punished for having any other emotions? The upcoming horror indie title, My Beautiful Paper Smile, posits this question in this gothically grim adventure game.
My Beautiful Paper Smile takes players into a dystopia ruled by a mad king who desires for all children to be nothing less than perfect. The king’s idea of perfection is children adorned with gigantic smiles that can never falter. Players take the role of Joyous, a child who is imprisoned in The Facility. He and his friends are subjected to experiments and trained by the shadowy Authority to make sure that they have a constant smile and no negative emotions can seep in. If a child were to experience any sadness they are taken away and disappear without a trace.
The game has an aesthetic of childlike sketches and haunting paper-cutout imagery that send chills down one’s spine. The art style captures the twisted innocence of a world corrupted. It is very reminiscent of a mix between the works of Edgar Allen Poe and indie titles such as The Binding of Isaac and Don’t Starve, making for a horrifying combination. This seems like a promising title for any horror fan or indie fan who is looking for a more cerebral horror that relies more on atmosphere and discomfort than jumpscares.
While the game doesn’t explicitly depict mature content, it does delve into mature themes such as death murder and torture. My Beautiful Paper Smile will be on Steam Early Access this Spring and should be followed by a full release sometime later in 2020.