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Paper Trail Review (PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S & PC)

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Paper Trail

Paper Trail has captivated players since its release with its innovative approach to puzzle-solving and immersive gameplay. This top-down puzzle adventure game takes players on a journey through a foldable paper world. The main feature involves folding and unfolding parts of a paper world to create paths and solve puzzles. This clever mechanic is more than just a fun trick; it is deeply connected to the game's story and visuals, making each action satisfying.

In the game, players navigate through various environments, meeting a diverse cast of characters and collecting items along the way. Each puzzle requires creative thinking and careful manipulation of the paper world, providing a sense of accomplishment with every solution. With that in mind, let us explore more about Paper Trail, checking out what makes it a standout puzzle game.

The Adventure

Paige meeting grandmother

Paper Trail presents a captivating narrative centered on Paige, a young and ambitious girl eager to explore the world beyond her home for the first time through the university. Her journey is both a physical adventure and a symbolic quest for personal growth. Now, the storyline is a mix of puzzle-solving and exploration. The game creates an immersive experience that engages players on multiple levels. 

Paige's character is fantastic, bringing out her curiosity, intelligence, and determination. Throughout her adventure, Paige meets a diverse cast of characters, each adding depth to the world of Paper Trail. Notable figures include a stranded fisherman, whose situation introduces the game's unique paper-folding mechanics. 

On the other hand, Aunt Em is trapped by a landslide, emphasizing themes of family and resilience. With his interactions, Winslow, the lighthouse keeper, sheds light on the broader impact of the storm that disrupted the world. These supporting characters enrich the narrative, making the game's environment vibrant.

The narrative structure of Paper Trail is designed to be gradually uncovered, encouraging players to explore and engage deeply with the environment. This non-linear storytelling approach rewards curiosity and thorough investigation, maintaining player engagement. Additionally, the dialogue in the game perfectly blends humor and provides insights into the characters' personalities and backstories. This method of storytelling ensures that each puzzle and interaction feels meaningful as players understand the stakes behind their actions.

The Balance

Guiding paige on where to move

Paper Trail demonstrates a commendable effort in accessibility and usability, ensuring a broader audience can enjoy its engaging gameplay and narrative. The game offers various settings to accommodate different player needs. That includes adjustable music volume, cursor sensitivity, and other customization options that enhance comfort and accessibility. 

However, allowing access to these settings before the game begins would make it much easier. Consequently, this enables players to adjust their experience immediately rather than after the initial monologue. Notably, the devs should refine that part of the game for more immersive gameplay.

One of Paper Trail‘s standout features is its automatic control scheme. The mechanics of folding and unfolding paper are straightforward and responsive, which helps reduce the potential frustration for players who struggle with more complex controls. However, some players might find the paper-folding mechanic initially confusing, and a more detailed tutorial could mitigate this early-stage frustration.

The game includes a helpful hint system that supports players who may find some puzzles challenging. This feature ensures that players of varying skill levels can progress through the game without getting stuck for too long. 

Furthermore, the hint system integrates seamlessly, offering enough guidance to help players move forward without spoiling the challenge or satisfaction of solving the puzzles independently. This balance is crucial for maintaining player engagement and accessibility. Nonetheless, some players might feel that the hint system could be more robust, providing more precise guidance in complicated sections.

The Charm

Paper Trail

Paper Trail captivates players with its stunning visual design and immersive atmosphere, making it a standout title in puzzle-adventure games. The game features a beautiful hand-drawn art style that adds a unique charm and enhances the gameplay experience. The devs did a commendable job on the details of the environments, characters, and animations, bringing the world of Paper Trail to life.

The color scheme is thoughtfully chosen, with soft tones that create a warm and inviting atmosphere. The contrast between different elements is clear, aiding in distinguishing between interactive objects and background scenery. This clarity is essential in a game where visual cues play a crucial role in solving puzzles. Similarly, the use of light and shadow further enhances the depth and realism of the scenes, making the paper world feel tangible and immersive.

On the other hand, the atmospheric sound design complements the visual aesthetics perfectly. The soundtrack, composed of soothing melodies and ambient sounds, sets a relaxing tone that encourages exploration and thoughtful puzzle-solving. This careful blending of sound and visuals creates a perfect sensory experience that draws players deeper into the game's narrative.

One of the most striking aspects of Paper Trail is how the visuals and gameplay mechanics are intertwined. The folding paper mechanic is a unique gameplay element and an integral part of the visual storytelling. As players manipulate the paper world, they uncover hidden paths and secrets, visually transforming in surprising and satisfying ways.

However, while the visuals are generally accessible and clear, some players might find certain patterns or overlapping elements challenging to navigate. Ensuring that critical interactive elements stand out consistently can help mitigate this issue. Additionally, offering more visual customization options, such as colorblind modes, would further enhance accessibility for a wider audience.

Folding and Unfolding

Creating a comlete bridge by paper folding

Paper Trail masterfully blends innovative gameplay mechanics with challenging puzzles. The game offers a uniquely engaging experience for puzzle enthusiasts and adventure gamers alike. The core gameplay revolves around the folding paper mechanic. So, players manipulate the environment by folding and unfolding sections of the paper world to reveal hidden paths, objects, and solutions. 

This mechanic is fresh and original and deeply integrated into the game's narrative and visual design, providing a seamless and immersive experience. The puzzles in Paper Trail range from simple to complex and brain-teasing, catering to a wide audience. Early puzzles gently introduce the folding mechanics, allowing players to grasp the basic concepts without feeling overwhelmed. 

As the game progresses, the puzzles become increasingly complex, requiring more thought, strategy, and awareness. This gradual increase in difficulty constantly challenges and engages players without the frustration of abrupt, tricky puzzles.

It’s truly fantastic how the game blends the puzzles into the story and environment. Each puzzle feels like a natural part of Paige's journey, enhancing the sense of exploration and discovery. For instance, folding the paper to create bridges or clear pathways directly impacts the narrative progression. Therefore, each solved puzzle feels meaningful and rewarding. 

Despite its many strengths, Paper Trail does have a few areas that could benefit from refinement. Some puzzles, particularly in the later stages, can become quite complex and require trial and error, disrupting the game flow for some players. Additionally, the manipulation required in certain puzzles might be challenging for players who struggle with spatial reasoning. Providing more frequent checkpoints or an undo option could help mitigate potential frustration in these scenarios.


Paige moving a rock

Paper Trail is a delightful and captivating puzzle adventure that successfully combines a unique gameplay mechanic with beautiful art and engaging storytelling. The innovative folding mechanic provides a fresh take on puzzle-solving, offering both fun and challenge in equal measure. Players will appreciate the gradual increase in puzzle difficulty, which allows for a smooth learning curve while keeping the gameplay engaging.

All the same, the stunning hand-drawn visuals and serene soundtrack create an immersive atmosphere that enhances the overall experience. Each environment is richly detailed, making exploration a visual treat. The characters Paige meets on her journey are well-developed and contribute to the intriguing narrative. Similarly, the blend of visual and auditory elements helps immerse players in Paige’s quest, making the game world feel alive and captivating.

The best part of Paper Trail is how it mixes a good story with fun puzzles. You get to explore a world made of paper and solve challenges by folding and unfolding it. It's like going on an exciting journey where every twist and turn brings something new and interesting. Undoubtedly, it's a really fun experience that keeps you hooked until the end.

Despite its many strengths, Paper Trail does have a few minor drawbacks. The lack of controller support might be a disappointment for some players who prefer that method of input. Additionally, the delayed access to settings such as music volume and cursor sensitivity means players must start the game before they can customize their experience. However, these issues are relatively minor and do not significantly diminish the overall enjoyment of the game.

Paper Trail shows Newfangled Games' creativity and dedication to delivering an exceptional gaming experience. Its blend of innovative gameplay, charming story, and breathtaking visuals sets it apart as a standout title in puzzle-adventure games. For those who love creative puzzles and heartwarming stories, Paper Trail is a must-play title that promises hours of enjoyable and thought-provoking gameplay.

Paper Trail Review (PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S & PC)

The Adventurous Paper

Paper Trail is a delightful blend of storytelling and puzzles. Its unique mechanics keep players engaged. With charming visuals and captivating narrative, it’s an unforgettable journey. So grab your paper and embark on an adventure.

Cynthia Wambui is a gamer who has a knack for writing video gaming content. Blending words to express one of my biggest interests keeps me in the loop on trendy gaming topics. Aside from gaming and writing, Cynthia is a tech nerd and coding enthusiast.