Paper Titans just doesn't have enough to it. It's too small in scope and scale, for one, but it's also utterly unremarkable. The mechanics are stale, the amount of repetition it has you do is absolutely numbing, and the 3D puzzles are dull at best. You might want to look over this one tonight as you pick and choose releases. There's just no oomph here outside of the visuals.

To rewind, Paper Titans is a 3D puzzle platform game. In it, you "make" a bunch of odd-looking paper creatures and then search for stars and postcards across a host of same-y, or even recycled, levels. Each one has three stars that you can collect, but the card is the end goal for whatever reason. Monster movement is handled by a line-drawing mechanic similar to the one in, say, Spy Mouse. Just tap the monster and drag a line to where you want him.

Each monster has a special ability. The first one you build is a Collector. He collects things. The next one is a Thrower. He can throw Collectors to raised platforms. There's also a guy that uses a rocket pack, as well as a shaman that can raise platforms.

Once you start diving deeper into the game, you unlock the ability to spawn more and more of these dudes into a level at the same time, which allows you to move around a handful of paper dudes at once. Slow movement mechanics and too simple tasks keep this from being interesting, though. From the minute you load into a level you know exactly what you need to do, so it's just a matter of waiting for your monsters to waddle their way over to the obvious.

I wish I liked this one more. The art style is OK and the sound design is stellar, but the game part is ultimately just ... competent, if not straight-up flat at times. Some folks are probably disagreeing with me, though, so give the game's thread a look as you ponder a purchasing decision as the game hits tonight alongside the rest of the world's new releases.

International App Store Link: Paper Titans, $2.99

  • Illuminerdy

    This is easily the harshest preview / review (?) I have ever read on this site. I have to say, though I am not amongst the herd of Angry Birds or Temple Run haters, that many iOS games strike me as competent with little going on mechanically. I am not saying I disagree with Brad's assessment on this game, but I worry that many games in the App Store deserve this same harsh critique.

    Visual style looks nice though.

  • MidianGTX

    It's kinda strange how these first impression posts almost act like mini reviews. A negative first impression might damage the game's reception (at least among TA regulars on launch night), then if the final review is written by someone else and comes with bundles of praise it might cause confusion.

    • oooooomonkey

      It's easy just take brad's word as final :-)

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      They are mini-reviews of the first 15-30 minutes of gameplay.

      • Bool Zero

        I am not trying to be rude or disrespectful here but perhaps they should be called something else besides "previews". I believe for many readers here "preview" means a totally different thing then "mini-review". From a journalistic standpoint, comparatively from print and even other websites, this would not be considered a preview, as to preview generally means to showcase (respectfully), not assess (critically). Perhaps these should be called "first impressions"?

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        We've been tagging them as "First Impressions" for two weeks now- http://toucharcade.com/category/first-impressions/

      • Bool Zero

        Touché! Though for us using the app this not as apparent... Still though, your point stands!

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Yeah, sadly the app is lagging behind a bit with the new way we've been posting about games. That'll be fixed ASAP.

    • Bool Zero

      I have to agree that perhaps previews shouldn't be so decisive in their overview of an app or game. I find that that is a problem here on the site as well, and that most of the previews are pretty affirming or condemning posthaste in their preview status. The preview should just be that, a preview, and inform you what the game is about... Perhaps even a little on the gameplay and mechanics but nothing more as to land a critique so preemptively on the product. I believe that portion should be saved for the review. I've seen this debate before with Eli on the approach to previews here on this site. They can often feel like preemptive reviews which rather than just laying down the skinny on a game as to how it plays, perhaps comparisons, and subtle impressions without a strong conviction.

      Informing folks that they should pass on a game in the preview just seems (and I mean no disrespect here) bad form. Just telling us what the game plays like and if it feels a little thin is enough of an impression save the blunt critique for the actual review.

      I am not going to go out and say that I disagree with Brad's impressions, as I kind of sense the same coming from this game as well and understand where he's coming from. Rather, I believe that those assessment should be saved for the actual review and not laid out so blatantly in the preview.

  • mondoz

    I can't tell from the review; is this game cancer or Hitler?

    • dariusjr98

      Based on the harsh "preview," I'd say both.

      :/

  • dariusjr98

    You guys just tore this game apart...and it doesn't even have a worldwide release yet.

    I'd be hurting pretty bad if I were the dev.

  • araczynski

    Don't really care whether its a [re/pre/mini/micro]view, as long as its an honest opinion. And really that's all these websites can ever offer, personal opinions.

    I realize toucharcade picks games to comment on based on potential for delivering on some quality gaming, but if you we're to judge the iOS gaming arena based on what you read here you'd think it rains gold and silver on iTunes every day of the week. Whereas in reality you'll be lucky to find a shiny penny amidst the daily ton of manure dumped onto the market.

    • http://twitter.com/Platronic John Francis

      I don't mind the honest opinion part but this writer literally couldn't articulate what he didn't like and then proceeded to bash it in more than half of the article.

      I have a soft spot for any dev who puts a ton of work into their production and aesthetic but I can't for the life of me figure out wht "retro" style games continue to get free passes where something rarely this polished get's an all caps "OK".

  • http://5j5.net/ Fun Flash Games

    This looks pretty cool. I will wait for a game-play video.