Paper Trail review

by on May 30, 2024
Release Date

May 21, 2024.


The theme of Paper is one that has bizarrely been present in gaming for some time now. Some of my favourite RPGs of all time are a part of the Paper Mario series, in part thanks to how cleverly they implement the world’s paper composition. Media Molecule’s Tearaway took the papercraft setting to another level by creating a world that was entirely made up of real world craftable elements. The idea of paper lends itself perfectly to puzzle gameplay too, which you’ll soon find out by folding your way through Paper Trail.

Our protagonist Paige is reaching the age of leaving home, and has just been accepted into university. Paige is so excited to start the next chapter of her life, but her parents aren’t as keen on the idea. Without the support of her family Paige decides to run away from home and make her way to Uni on her own, and fortunately her ability to bend time and space in the form of folding the world around her will make that possible.

Paper Trail

Each screen of Paper Trail is made of a sheet of paper, and by folding it inwards from the edge you can use whatever is on the other side of the paper to progress towards your goal. Perhaps by folding the world you’ll be able to make a bridge appear across a ravine, or reveal a path around a toppled tree. The paper environment can be folded from any edge or corner, and with a bit of experimentation you’ll soon get used to folding it in a way that reveals exactly what you need in the orientation you need it.

In the early stages of the game you’ll pretty much just be folding the world to get from A-to-B, but before you know it all sorts of new mechanics will be added. Some of these are puzzle game staples like pushing rocks onto switches, others are a bit more complex. One stage introduces doors with symbols on them that when matched up can be entered to warp between them, another features electrical currents that need guiding through wires to open doors. Paper Trail throws new ideas at you thick and fast, with absolutely no time to get bored of seeing the same old stuff.

With a whole lot of elements to work with both on the screen you’re looking at and on the other side of the paper, the incredibly handy ability to see exactly what’s on the opposite paper side with a push of a button is key to folding your way to victory. You’ll get used to immediately checking what you’ve got to play with when presented with a new screen, but sometimes that might not be enough.

Paper Trail

That’s where the incredibly helpful hint system comes in, which allows you to see every single fold needed to progress through a screen. If you’re entirely stuck this almost amounts to an entire solution to your problem, but if you just need a nudge in the right direction you can check the first fold or two to see how to start solving the paper puzzle in front of you. It’s a really well thought out way of helping you when you’re stuck, and due to the simple nature of the game it’s easy to see what you need to do by watching a piece of paper get folded.

While those who might struggle with the puzzles have options in Paper Trail, people with big logical brains are also catered to as well. Each stage of the game features a selection of hidden origami models to collect, which often require some fiendish folding to obtain (and because they’re optional there are no hints to help with this). The extra challenge will really appeal to some, and also adds some extra runtime onto this fairly short experience.

Paper Trail

Between the puzzle filled levels of Paper Trail you’re shown little sections of story that tell you all about Paige’s family life. Not only are these interesting solely from a narrative standpoint, but you only get told the next bit of the story by folding pictures of Paige’s adventure to reveal the next accompanying picture. It’s such a cool way to implement the story behind the puzzle game, while still providing a bit of a break from the brain teasing stages.

I really loved my time with Paper Trail, and am honestly struggling to think of many negatives about the game. When using a gamepad folding pages is a little cumbersome, due to the fact you have to move a cursor with the analogue stick to do so. It’s also a game where it’s really easy to miss the obvious solution to puzzles, and there were multiple times where I had to take a break and come back to figure out what I was missing. The hint system does help with this somewhat, but if you just want to find a solution for yourself you might find yourself frustrated.

Paper Trail is a unique and engaging puzzle game packed full of clever ideas. The central folding mechanic is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced; the story is unexpectedly touching, and the hint system is really helpful when you get stuck. Paper Trail is a truly captivating experience from start to finish, and if puzzles and paper appeal to you then you’ll almost certainly love folding your way through Paige’s story.


A really unique puzzle game
Constantly throws new ideas at you
The hint system is great
Tells a lovely story


Using a cursor to manually fold is cumbersome
Can be frustrating when a puzzle stumps you if you're too stubborn to use a hint

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Paper Trail is a fabulous puzzle game with a unique paper folding central mechanic, some seriously clever ideas and a wholesome story.