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Hands-On: Paper Beasts Is A Beautiful And Relaxing PSVR Exclusive

Hands-On: Paper Beasts Is A Beautiful And Relaxing PSVR Exclusive

When it comes to virtual reality games, not many strive to give you the experience that Paper Beasts does. Instead of a frantic world that immerses you via its gameplay, Paper Beasts chooses to let you sit back, relax, and take in a world that unfolds before your eyes.

Last month we got a chance to spend some time with Paper Beasts at PAX East, and see just how it was shaping up as it gets closer to its launch date after having tried it last year at Gamescom.

The first thing you’ll notice in Paper Beasts is just how quiet and calm the game is. The demo started off by having me rip away a series of tents, which gave way to reveal a gigantic creature that was seemingly made out of a ton of tree branches. Rather than attack you or scare you off, however, the creature simply walked away and after a brief introduction into how to move about the world, it became more of a companion than anything else.

Paper Beasts utilizes a standard snap direction movement system and many of the beasts within the game act as guides, showing you where to go as you take in the wonder of the world in front of you. The giant, deer-like creature wasn’t the only animal to be found in the world of Paper Beasts, though. After doing some exploring, smaller creatures began popping up around me, content to simply sip on water that had sprung forth as well. In many ways, Paper Beasts is almost like an interactive safari, allowing you to watch the animals exist in their “natural” habitat, or interfere by feeding them or, on some occasions, saving their lives.

After being introduced to smaller creatures in the demo and getting a chance to feed them, things turned violent. Another animal, this one glowing red and much more aggressive than anything I’d seen before, attacked the smaller creatures. Although you’re an audience member to the nature in front of you, you can interfere if you choose by picking up either animal to separate the two. However, nature will always take its course, and eventually the predator got its prey.

paper beasts manipulation gif

Throughout the demo, I experienced very brief moments of what the game had to offer, including being tasked with saving the large creature after it got stuck in the water before being treated to a violent whirlwind of sorts that ended my experience. Although my time with Paper Beasts was short, I was still able to play around in the game’s sandbox mode too, which gives you the ability to essentially play God in your own personal world.

It was in this mode that the real appeal of Paper Beasts seemed to show up, as I was not only given free reign of things to do, but there was just a ton of things to experience. Once inside the sandbox, players can choose from their size of planet before getting to work. On each PS Move controller, a long list of options were at my disposal, including the ability to add different elements to the planet, drop in various wildlife, change the weather, and even move the Sun in the sky. While I wasn’t sure what every ability and creature did, Pixel Reef assured me that players would come into contact with mostly everything in the sandbox mode while playing the single-player campaign, so you’ll have more than enough experience once you finally dive in.

Building a fully functioning ecosystem takes a lot of time, and even when things look like they’re going right, one wrong movement can ruin it all since the world isn’t static. Much like any real ecosystem, the things inside of Paper Beasts’ world act on their own accord. For example, certain creatures will interact with the plants and trees that blossom, causing new forms of life to sprout in the process. You can even insert chaos into the sandbox, dropping in predatory creatures that, if left unchecked, will end all life in your sandbox until you come back.

paper beasts rain valley screenshot psvr

The beauty of this mode is that much like real life, you don’t have to be present for things to happen. According to Pixel Reef, the sandbox you build in Paper Beasts will continue on even if you aren’t paying attention, which will allow you to set life in motion and return later to see just how it’s doing. It’s in those moments where the real allure of Paper Beasts shines, as it’s extremely easy to lose yourself in the process of playing with a world that is not only reacting to what you do, but growing and changing on its own.

While I had only a small amount of time with both modes, I found myself anxious to dive right back in when the game launches on March 24 exclusively for PlayStation VR.

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