Paper Beast is a charming, magical VR journey

At the beginning of Paper Beast for PlayStation VR, I stand alone on a windswept desert. A small crab-like animal wanders by. I can pick it up and throw it, if I like. But it seems harmless, so I don’t bother it too much.

A moment later, a much larger creature walks towards me, making me feel glad that I wasn’t too much of a bully to the little critter. This new beast is like a giraffe or a dinosaur, except its structure is much too complex to be of this earth. I realize that this majestic being is an origami creation, and it means me no harm.

We begin a short dance of comprehension, in which it becomes clear to me that I’m supposed to follow the creature into some caves. There, I find other paper animals, some friendly, others not. My journey begins.

And yes, this game does recall Journey, that poetic world of sharp polygons, sand dunes and ribbons, of windswept vistas, monuments and strange beings. 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 bounding pet. Or, when trouble arrives in the form of wolf-like predators, I can use my powers to lift the prey up, and throw them to safety.

Paper Beast is a PlayStation VR exclusive that’s due out next year. It’s being developed by Pixel Reef, a new studio headed up by Eric Chahi, who is best known for influential ‘90s productions Another World and Heart of Darkness, as well as the more recent From Dust.

I played a demo at a recent PlayStation VR media event, and found it to be a good sign for Sony’s ongoing support for its 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 from Fireproof Games. It’s an intriguing puzzle game, set in the early days of criminal investigation, which will feel familiar to anyone who’s played one 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 vibe.

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

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

We’ll have more coverage on these VR games as they arrive.

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