November 08, 2018

PAX Australia 2018 - Hands on with Paperville Panic

Have you ever wanted to know how a town made of paper survives in case of a fire, well in Paperville Panic, you need to wonder no more, as the answer is you, as in you are the fireman and even though you are also made from paper, there is nothing going to stop you, not even giant sentient balls of flames that are invading your town.

Melbourne based studio Ultimerse was on hand to show off Paperville Panic, their first VR game, which released onto Steam just before the show, but given its VR nature, it is not something I had been able to experience until now. The demo at the show had two areas available to play, a walk through and a shooting gallery, being that I wanted the full experience, I went for the former and after being wired up by the excellent team from Ultimerse, it was time to fight fire with VR controllers.

The demo started up easy enough, moving down a corridor, using my water gun to put out spot fires as they flared up and helping some paper people as needed, the first of which was trapped under some debris that had fallen down. This was the first real test for me, as up until now, most of my VR experience has been with a PlayStation 4 controller. Reaching out and picking up the debris was easy enough, the game thankfully had no issues in guessing my position and working each time, but once those people were saved it was time to move on.

The game uses a teleporting move system, like DOOM VFR, so you look in the direct that you want to go, move the cursor to the location on the floor and if you can move there, the icon changes colour and with a tap of the button you warp there. The game thankfully had no visual lag, something I have had to deal with, with other VR demos and I was able to keep playing each time. After putting out some fires and helping more people, I encountered one of the creatures that was causing the fires to be popping up around town and so began the first boss fight.

The creature was moving back and forth in front of me, mocking me as I was attempting to fight it, but I had a water pistol and a fire axe, so I was good. After a pass was completed, it would spit fireballs at me, which you could shoot down with the water pistol, but I found it much easier to knock them down with the axe, a one two squirt if you will. The creature eventually had enough and began to expand, likely to explode, so I threw my axe at it, hoping a final hit might take it down, sadly it did not, and I was now without my axe.

However, as I looked around to see what I could use, I noticed some buckets of water balloons at my feet, so picking them up and throwing them at the creature seemed the best idea. Now let me tell you, it was a brilliant idea as it did defeat the creature after a few hits, however I had forgotten about my water gun, so I likely could have beaten it with that, but oh well, I was victorious and that is all that mattered. My time with the game was over, but unlike some trade show demos, where you feel cheated, I left my time with the game content with what I had played, it was a nice chunk of game, it let me explore the world and how it all works together.

I have no space at my PC for any sort of VR, but Paperville Panic would be a game that I would add to my library in an instant, its fun, bright and easy to play, but I can see the game ramping up the challenge as you move forward. If you want to see what its like, check out the trailer here and visit the Steam page to purchase a copy.

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