It doesn't take much for a new iOS game to gain a nice bit of hype. Paper Monsters did so by dazzling excitable gamers with some pretty screens, suggesting this platformer would offer an experience similar to LittleBigPlanet. The art style gives everything a papercraft appearance, and as such the game resembles the cobbled together visuals of Sony's multi-million selling franchise, but that is Paper Monsters' only standout feature.
Outside of the visuals roughly being from the same stable as Sackboy, gameplay on offer in Paper Monsters is far more basic. Things move at a rather sedate pace and, apart from the odd submarine sequence in which you dodge mines and fire torpedoes, you're just jumping (or double-jumping) through 16 levels split over four chapters. This is a platformer that takes its inspiration from all sources, so it's not surprising to also find yourself jumping on enemy heads and moving through warp pipes.
A big disappointment for many players will be the ease at which it's possible to work through the current selection of levels. While more are promised through updates, at the time of writing you'll likely be able to finish all 16 stages in around two hours. Other than the odd death at the hands of some of the more annoying enemies, Paper Monsters isn't overly challenging. At least you're unlikely to come a cropper due to control issue.
Chances are you won't have fully finished every level on your first playthrough, with numerous items available to go back and collect if you want to eke more time out of your 69p purchase. There's also an optional Dash mode that sees you doing the jumping while your character runs automatically - a nice bonus but not nearly good enough to compete with the running genre's best.
In another nod to LittleBigPlanet, your cardboard box character can be customised with items bought from the in-game shop using collected buttons. While I admit to suddenly liking my guy a whole lot more once he wore a top hat, the level of customisation is quite limited and the best items require an awful lot of buttons - though these can also be purchased in-app for real money.
Perhaps I expected too much from Paper Monsters. While there's no denying that the core platforming is pleasant and the visuals are a cut above the majority of iOS games, Crescent Moon's charming little game lacks the creativity its presentation suggests is going to be bursting from every seam. Fun while it lasts, but a little too safe to be considered one of the genre's best on iOS.