“Paper Cut Mansion” Is a Challenging Roguelite Mystery/Horror – Game Review

Paper Cut Mansion Indie Game 2022
Paper Cut Mansion (Image: PR)

From Thunderful and Space Lizard Studio, Paper Cut Mansion is no doubt a very unique-looking roguelike mystery/horror indie offering. However, I don’t think it’s for everyone when it comes to gameplay.

I was provided with a free digital code for Paper Cut Mansion on the Nintendo Switch to review. The opinions I have shared are my own.

Before I get into my gripes with the gameplay, I’m going to begin by talking about the impressive visuals. The world in Paper Cut Mansion, including the characters, is made of paper. And while this isn’t the first game to go such a route, it does stand out due to how everything is presented.

As mentioned in April’s press release, the team made everything on actual paper which was then scanned into a computer to be modeled into 3D papercraft. That’s the reason why the furniture looks like it can actually be created in the real world if you have the necessary cutouts. And yes, I did spend some time looking at every piece of furniture the main character came across, especially the items that can be rotated 360 degrees to find clues or coins.

I don’t know if the team did this already, but if not, they should consider selling the paper models for interested players to craft and collect. Let me build a Paper Cut Mansion diorama!

Coming to the premise, you get to play a detective named Toby. I won’t be diving into spoilers for this mystery-heavy game, but Toby finds his way to an old mansion and gets stuck there. Your job is to survive as well as collect clues to figure out what’s actually happening. The roguelike element makes the evidence-collecting process interesting as the rooms and puzzles you encounter are randomly generated. A glowing green moth serves as a way for this game to offer you hints when something important is present in a room. You will also get to meet a bunch of characters including skeletons, ghosts, and more. Some will give you sidequests and offer aid, while others you can’t trust.

And while the storyline is dark, there’s also a comedic element in there that I think gelled well with the overall narrative. You’re in a world made of paper, after all. The soundtrack’s also good, jumping between (in my opinion) whimsical and intense when necessary.

Now, as far as the gameplay is concerned, I have a feeling that people who are interested in playing roguelikes might not be on the same page when it comes to what Paper Cut Mansion has to offer.

There are some interesting gameplay mechanics involved. For example, while inside the mansion, Toby needs to travel through portals that take him into other dimensions of the same location but with their own rules. The Limbic System will make you focus on survival which includes staying near torches or risking freezing yourself to death. The Reptilian Dimension is more about fighting. And the Neo Cortex is more puzzle-based. Going through the portals does help change the gameplay. And solving certain puzzles is stimulating. But Paper Cut Mansion does come with certain issues.

With the rooms being randomly generated, the puzzles and enemies will tend to repeat. There’s also some backtracking involved which certain players might not like. There’s no map. So, good luck on your journey because getting lost is easy.

I also think that the combat system could have been improved. I would suggest that you not face enemies using close-range weapons. Always opt for something long-range if possible. Also, if you don’t have anything long-range at a particular moment, I would suggest avoiding enemies altogether instead of risking damage and death due to close-up combat.

I just didn’t find Paper Cut Mansion to be easy. Almost everything is out to kill you. And that can get quickly tiring after a few hours of playing and your character not really leveling up in a manner to properly face such threats. You can unlock weapons and armor to be ready for another run. But the accessories and weapons don’t make a huge difference, from what I could tell. And while such a challenging game might interest certain players, an easier experience would have opened this indie title up to more players.

Paper Cut Mansion is one of those games that you will likely enjoy more if you know what to expect. So, yeah, expect unique visuals combined with a quite challenging roguelike experience as you run around a haunted mansion that’s out to get while collecting the necessary clues to fill up your Evidence Board.

Paper Cut Mansion is currently available on PC, PlayStation 4 & 5, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox consoles.

Have you played it already? What did you think of it?

Let us know.

You can read more of our video game coverage here.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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