Don’t pet the animals in Paper Beasts. Oh, they don’t bite (hell, I don’t even know if they have mouths) but I wouldn’t want you getting a papercut. After a brief stint on Playstation VR, Pixel Reef’s gorgeous papercraft sandbox has finally found its way to PC – a wonderfully bizarre menagerie of folded beasties to poke at, puzzle with, or simply observe with idle curiosity from behind the comfort of your expensive plastic headset.
Buried deep in the internet, far beneath the shitposting, apparently lurks an entire ecosystem of origami animals. So goes Paper Beasts, which tasks you with helping these creatures by solving puzzles, or else simply sit back and watch folded life take its course.
Coming from From Dust designer Eric Chahi’s studio Pixel Reef, Paper Beasts offers up a gorgeous simulated ecosystem to tool about in. Each animal, from carboard-plated tortoises to multicoloured brutes, has its own behaviours and interactions. While there’s a lovely adventure mode that has you helping these critters out, it’s a joy to simply watch these papercraft pals push against each other in the game’s Sandbox – one that lets you go full god-mode by summoning creatures and sculpting the land however you fancy.
Paper Beast’s PC version comes with a few visual upgrades – sharper shadows, improved water and sand rendering – and offers a continuous movement option alongside the original’s teleportation. It also sports a beefed-up Sandbox that offers more space, more possible entities and a new beast to throw into the mix.
Of course, I’m afraid you’ll need one of them whopping great plastic tellies strapped to your face to play Paper Beasts. Soz. If you do have one and are tired of thwacking headcrabs about, you can pick up Paper Beasts on Steam, Viveport and Oculus. Annoyingly, the prices differ by store – but expect to pay between 15 and 20 quid, with a free demo available on Steam.