Fire isn’t an element to be trifled with. Sure we’ve harnessed it with matches and lighters to make warm and cosy fireplaces, or a nice outdoor fire pit to cook marshmallows on but it can soon become dangerous if not closely managed. That’s where trusty firefighters come in to save the day should anything go awry but what if they’ve never even seen a burning building, especially if that building is made of paper. Enter the flaming chaos that is Paperville Panic, an imaginative and comedic experience from the minds of Ultimerse.
Paperville Panic puts you in the shoes of a rookie firefighter in the colourful town of Paperville. The inhabitants are a jolly, if somewhat naive bunch, who have never seemingly encountered the flaming element in all its fiery forms but that’s about to change. It’s your first day on the job and of course all hell breaks loose as you’re called into action.
The name of the game here is putting out fires, with Ultimerse seeing fit to include an interesting assortment of tasks and challenges to test those skills. From your standard house fire with inhabitants to save from under rubble, blockages to remove with a trusty axe, and people running around on fire – they are made of paper after all – to more outlandish scenarios involving ill-advised fireworks and even criminals to dispatch.
And where there’s fire you need water. Usually on your hip is a very useful water pistol, yet depending on the scenario this can also change to water balloons, a water balloon firing shotgun and more. These are all great fun to use – especially the shotgun – nicely altering the dynamic of each challenge so that you can’t simple use one strategy all the time.
All the various tasks are selectable through a main hub world that’s wonderfully vivid and busy to look at and explore, with all the characters having something to say – with a light smattering of coarse language and minor sexual innuendos to keep things humorous.
Yet not everything is perfect in Paperville. The main sticking point being movement. All you get is teleportation, while in essence this is fine makes the whole experience rather clunky – especially for more experience VR players. The first mission is a perfect case in point. Rather than feeling like the hero rushing around saving peeps it’s very stop start searching rooms and making sure you don’t suddenly teleport into some flames. It’s a shame there’s no direct locomotion as the levels all feature stairs and ramps to walk up.
Another little annoyance is there are still some glitches to be ironed out. There were points when going to shoot some flames the gun would suddenly be in the holster or worse floating in mid-air after moving. Or when returning to the hub world the belt loadout would be flipped so the water gun would suddenly be on the left rather than the right. Minor quibbles but they show the cracks in the polish.
On a better note each challenge ends with a boss fight and these are some of the best parts about Paperville Panic. Staying completely stationary, you can battle it out with these fire wielding characters who provide a reasonably tough fight in comparison to the other parts of the experience so that it’s not a complete walkthrough.
With its mix of comedy charm and light-hearted gameplay Paperville Panic provides and enjoyable VR escape that should put a smile on players faces. There are some short comings with experienced players likely to find it on the short side. Even so, there’s still a decent amount of fun to be had as you shoot Paperville citizens in the face.