Dissident Logic’s Paperbound is coming out soon for PC and PS4, and I got the chance to mess around with it alongside a few friends. It’s easy to compare the  multiplayer-only fighter to Super Smash Bros., but in this case it features a simpler format and faster paced mayhem.

Paperbound offers a list of 17 characters, with more likely on the way. Each is different only in their hand-drawn 2D design, though the roster also includes some special guest characters like Juan from Guacamelee, or Locksmith and Gentleman from Monaco. Other than that, their attacks and moves are all the same: Each is equipped with a melee attack, throwing scissor shurikens, and ink pot grenades.


The gameplay itself becomes fast-paced within a moment’s notice. Each player dies in a single hit, before respawning immediately in a random spot. Every character has the same range, making the approach difficult, though there’s no time to hesitate. Even with long ranged attacks, the game can keep moving without any-one scoring. A scissor attack can be deflected right back to the sender, which can go on for as long as the players can keep deflecting. The ability for each player to invert their own gravity without warning also changes the flow of battle quickly, sending players zooming across the stage.

Paperbound allows up to 4 people to play in a heated battle, following the rules of a number of standard game modes such as capture the flag, king of the hill, and the standard death-match. The game also features an interesting optional setting, in that once players score enough points, they need to reach a tear in the level in order to leave it and win. It’s an interesting addition to a fairly old format.

There are also a large number of stages, split into five different books and environments. The levels themselves are simple and flat, different only by how many platforms exist within, and the shape of the external wall; if there even is an external wall. One pretty interesting level titled the Void has only three platforms within, and no external platform. Anything that falls into the ether around the level reappears on the opposite side, whether it be scissors or another character. This, along with many other levels, comes with a notice of how many players are recommended for optimal fun, challenge, and mayhem.

Paperbound is chaos incarnate that’s easy to get into, but also requires keen reflexes to master. The matches are often short, and strategies change frequently with each level. The free-for-alls in particular, especially during local games, get loud quickly, most often near the end. Online games lose the spirit of that somewhat, but the games are just as intense. But there’s no question that couch multiplayer is definitely where this game finds its potential.