A completely unprepared town made entirely of paper; is hit by its first ever fire, and it’s up to you to save it Rookie. A comedic, tongue in cheek action-adventure VR exploration game.
This weekend I was invited to the official launch party for Paperville Panic! an action-adventure VR exploration game. This isn’t the first time I’ve played Paperville Panic! and I’m hoping this event won’t be the last time. Keep reading to hear all about my whole experience with this amazing little game; from my first meeting of the Ultimerse team to the launch party.
November 2017 – PAX Australia
I was finishing my coffee at PAX Australia at 10 mins to 2pm. I had a 2pm appointment with a Marketing Manager of a VR game studio called Ultimerse; to check out there game Paperville Panic. I’d had several conversations with Meredith in the weeks leading up to PAX, and her passion and excitement excited me.
I personally love VR, I think the technology is going to do amazing things for so many different industries. Yet at the time, felt that games were still a ways from finding their feet with the technology. Having played several games and not really thinking much of them, I felt like it was still several years before something great would come along.
I was greeted with a hug and introduced to several members of the team; Lucy A bubbly pink-haired designer named, whose excitement and enthusiasm for what she does was infectious. Every time she received a compliment about the game, she had this excited and yet embarrassed look of a proud mother being told something great about their child. The project manager named Julian who was a soft-spoken man. He had a quiet and subtle excitement that beams across his face like the players that left the booth. And Aidan, a developer that even though I was horrible at the game reassured me in a calm voices that i was doing amazing. Even after accident clipping him on the chin while in the headset.
The game was in demo and they had explained to me that they had literally scrapped what they had already completed and started over only a few month before PAX Australia to have the demo ready.
It had a colourful world of paper people, almost Minecraft mixed with South Park in the design. You were stuck in a fire, you had a water pistol and an axe to help save them from the fire. Before taking on the big bad at the end. A giant fireball that you used your pistol and water balloons to take down. The demo was fun, colourful, a little clunky and buggy in places; but overall you got a real sense of the world they were trying to create. It was little hearted, whimsical, comedic, and you really connected with the people and world they created.
Was it the best indie game i played? the answer is no. But was it one that stuck with me? One I wanted to keep an eye on? One that I felt could make a major impact in future? Big yes. I actually put Paperville Panic in my Top 5 PAX Highlights.
Present day – Launch Party
I park outside the Embassy Cafe in Melbourne; recheck the address for the fifth time, and the Ultimerse office is just around the corner. I received an email 3 weeks ago inviting me to the launch of Paperville Panic! I was shocked, as this wasn’t the launch of the early access, but the full commercial launch. It had been less than a year sine I played there 5 or so minute demo. It was a bit buggy and clunky yet with a bucket load of promise. Could they really get it all done in less than a year? I guess i was going to find out.
As i walked through the paper streamers; I was handed a drink and before I had a chance to look around the room; I was meet with a big hug. As I was the first time i meet Meredith. Nothing had changed, except she was now the Producer of Paperville Panic! She was excited, stressed, and relieved that this had all come together.
The place was filled with people, media, family, friends and the whole team at Ultimerse. I caught up with Lucy, Aidan and Julian. Nothing had changed; well Lucy was rocking amazing green hair, but they were the same passionate and excited team I was introduced to back just a year earlier.
Paperville Panic was playing in a glass office and i joined the line to play.
To say the game has improved would have been the understatement of the year. The game seemed to flow nicely. You put on some googles to play, but instead you were inserted into a new world. I have played demos and early access games ever since i can remember; ever since steam it has been one of my guilty pleasures. Most don’t improve that much, some impress me but none have exceeded my expectations like Paperville Panic!
In a world where VR could be the next big thing in technology. I was blown away by the amount of growth this game had undertaken and even more shocked that the team at Ultimerse had done so in less than a year.
With its mix of comedy charm and light-hearted gameplay Paperville Panic! provides an enjoyable VR escape that will put a massive smile on your face. I didn’t notice any glicking or clunkiness but did over hear a few VR specialists mention there were some short comings with the movement mechanic. I didn’t even noticed them and even played it again to see if I could see what they were talking about and I didn’t notice what they were talking about. There’s so much fun be had as you shoot Paperville citizens in the face, put out fires and explore the beautiful world of Paperville Panic..
Not to mention, as someone that gets motion sickness quite bad and have never before played VR without getting quite queasy. My love for VR comes at a bit of a cost. After playing for 5 or 10 mins I felt perfectly fine. Not even remotely sick. I don’t know how the team has done it but I was told by Meredith that I have Aidan to thank for that.
I did get to have a quick chat with Meredith as the event whined down, and she had this to say about her team:
“The team has come so far and it shows in the game itself – Paperville Panic is a testament to the hard work and dedication and we’re so proud to be celebrating its release.”
And i couldn’t agree more, there hard work and dedication has taken a clunky and buggy demo with so much promise; to a finished and highly polished VR game that I believe has set the bar high for other companies to try and reach.