Paper Trail brought to us by Newfangled Games is a puzzle adventure game that’s been described as a premium mobile game, it’s made it on to console, does it stand up or will it crumple?

The moment I saw the trailer I had Paper Trail bookmarked, I’m a sucker for a few things when it comes to games. A unique premise, charming art style and narrative I can become invested in. Paper Trail seemed to promise all three so when Newfangled Games offered us a review code I almost folded myself in two to accept. 

Paper Trail begins by introducing us to Paige, she’s just been accepted into university and she’s excited to begin her journey, longing to leave her sleepy little village and become an astrophysicist. There’s just one problem, Paige’s parents don’t want her to go. Well, tough, Paige is all set to run away a begin her new life, but a storm hit’s and she’s stranded. Initially tasked by her folks to check on some of the locals an adventure unfolds that not even Paige could have journaled in her wildest dreams. 

I’m not going to spoil any of the story contained within Paper Trail, it’s a charming narrative of longing for change and coming of age full of whimsy and wholesome moments that I found heartwarming and kept me invested the entire time. 

Invested…I love puzzle games but up until Paper Trail they’ve all struggled to keep me invested, be it though a uninspired narrative or the fact that the actual mechanics of the puzzle become one note once you’d figured out the system. This often meant that for an hour or two a puzzle game would have my focus but I’d quickly loose interest, or on occasion they’d become so fiendishly difficult I’d sulk and never play them again. 

As I’ve already mentioned the story of Paper Trail won me over but what of the gameplay?

The world of Paper Trial begins with Southfold (adorable homely name and a pun, excellent work Newfangled) Paige’s hometown, but the world itself is essentially 2D but exists on two sides of a piece of paper, your job is to get Paige from A to Z, but doing this will mean folding the world in on itself. You can fold from any edge, horizontally, vertically or diagonally in from the corners. There are some limiting factors, you obviously can’t fold over Paige, and as your progress they will be certain aspects of the world that prevent you from folding over them as well.  The only minor issue I had while playing was the cursor speed, I’d often zip past the fold I want onto to wrong on, this has me wished for mouse, but it was easily fixed by lowering the sensitivity via the settings menu.

The short amount of time spent in Southfold acts as the games tutorial and the mechanic is refreshing and cool and seems fairly intuitive, but once your out in the big wide world things become a lot more complex and each new world adds a crumple into your folding plans. Examples of which might be boulders in the way, or needing to fold runes together to make sure doors open. Every new addition to the core puzzle mechanic is fantastic and adds a degree of challenge at a perfect pace. It’s also not easy, there were a good few times when I couldn’t figure out what I was suppose to do and started to get a folding headache, most notably the first time I realised I could move a wooden platform across multiple pages. Well, if in being honest, I didn’t work it out, I used the games hint system. 

Hint systems in puzzle games normally drive me crazy as the are normally poorly implemented and just flat out tell you the answer and leave you feeling stupid and judged by the game. Paper Trial is different, they game will show you the folding pattern you need to do in order, but it breaks it down, so you can view as much or as little of the solution as you’d like. What’s fantastic however is that it will show you the folding pattern but not anything to do with the interactive elements of the game, so the hint really is just that. It relieves  frustration but in a gentle way that doesn’t rob the player of a sense of accomplishment. 

Visually Paper Trail is beautiful, it’s a joy to look at and the character designs are simply adorable, special mention to the frogs, I don’t know if Newfangled would ever release prints of the game or an art book but I would be first on the list to order them.