I really should stop reviewing free games, as it’s always the same story: you’re out for a “free” meal but you have to wait several hours between courses unless you pay extra, and not forgetting the surcharge for cutlery.
One of the first things I noticed about Paperama is the ridiculous number of user reviews, currently sitting at 21,300+ on the App Store, and pushing a full million over on Google Play. At first I had my suspicions, but it all became clear soon enough.
Ok, let’s start at the beginning! Paperama is an Origami/paper-folding game, and across each of the 70+ levels, you’re tasked with folding a sheet of paper into a particular shape within a certain number of folds.
Ultimately you’re awarded a percentage score, and to the game’s credit, it’s not necessary to fold the shape perfectly in order to progress; minimum score is usually around 80%.
Other things to like about Paperama include the suitably soothing soundtrack, and the ability to Undo folds without penalty.
The only other gameplay element of note is the ability to use Hints, and that’s where everything goes a bit freemium crazy.
Using the classic drug dealer technique, Paperama gives you a handful of hints to start off. What harm can they do, man? They’re free.
Well, initially free, and absolutely vital, as Paperama is deceptively complex. Seriously, in one particular level that requires just four folds, I used two hints and was none the wiser.
Paperama problem the first: you can’t skip levels, so if you get stuck and you’re out of hints, you’re well and truly stuck.
Paperama problem the second (building on problem the first): hints don’t regenerate. Again, stuck means seriously stuck. Unless you’re willing to pay, that is.
To give you an idea of the difficulty, Paperama has in-app purchases at 69p (three hints), £1.49 (10 hints) and – wait for it – £10.49 (100 hints), so obviously the game is difficult enough to warrant the latter purchase.
Even putting the freemium stuff aside (for argument’s sake, let’s say the hints were entirely free), I have a problem with the notion of the puzzles being nigh on impossible to figure out simply by looking at them.
There’s every chance I’m just an idiot, but again, there exists a 100-hint in-app purchase, so… Also, those App Store and Google Play reviews I mentioned? People looking to score free hints.
On the whole, I’m left feeling slightly disappointed, as the first few levels of Paperama were a blast, but a few dozen levels in you’ll inevitably find yourself reaching for your wallet – or the virtual trash bin.
- It’s, uhm, free
- The soothing music
- Pretty cool concept
- The freemium stuff
- The difficulty
- Good lord, the difficulty
Summary: Paperama is an interesting and relentlessly challenging paper-folding game, but be prepared to pay for hints if you want to see it through to the end.
Developer: FDG Entertainment
Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.