Paper Beast is a magical, magical VR journey

At the beginning of Paper Beast for PlayStation VR I stand alone in a windswept desert. A small crab-like animal passes by. I can pick it up and throw if I want. But it seems harmless, so I do not bother too much.

A moment later, a much larger creature approaches, and I’m glad I’m not too big a bully for the little animal. This new animal is like a giraffe or a dinosaur, only its structure is far too complex to be from this earth. I realize that this majestic creature is an origami creation and it does not harm me.

We begin a short dance of understanding, realizing that I should follow the creature into some caves. There I find other paper animals, some friendly, others not. My journey begins.

And yes, this game is reminiscent of Journey, this poetic world of sharp polygons, sand dunes and bands, windswept views, monuments and alien creatures. Paper Beast is a pretty landscape of the mystical.

I interact with the creatures by playing with them, like a dog owner throwing a ball for a limited pet. Or, when trouble comes in the form of wolf-like predators, I can use my powers to lift the loot and bring it to safety.

Paper Beast is an exclusive PlayStation VR release that will be available next year. It is being developed by Pixel Reef, a new studio directed by Eric Chahi, best known for his influential 90s productions Another World and Heart of Darkness, as well as the newer From Dust.

I recently demoed a PlayStation VR media event and thought it was a good sign of Sony’s continuing support for the virtual reality platform. PSVR has sold more than four million units.

Other PSVR games at the media event caught my interest, including The Room VR: A Dark Matter by Fireproof Games. It’s an intriguing puzzle game set in the early days of criminal investigation that feels like playing any of Fireproof’s room games. Based on my demo of an early part of the game, the puzzles seem varied and interesting, and I enjoy the Sherlock Holmes mood.

I also like Stardust Odyssey, in which I am traveling in a caravan of exotic spaceships, using the controls to steal goods from other vehicles, and evading capture by security forces. I can choose to dodge and hide or fight.

Finally, there is Space Channel 5, a VR version of the original Sega game. It’s a fun movement game and dance-crazy aliens. It will be released later this year.

We will be reporting more about these VR games as they become available.

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