Papermint is a new virtual world, of sorts, focused more on self-expression than goal-oriented gaming, and targeting women ages 15 to 35. From European developer Avaloop, it focuses on being colorful, peaceful, and more oriented around pursuits like becoming a designer, judge, celebrity or gardener.
Requiring no download nor any separate registration screens, the game was pretty easy to get in to. Players create an avatar (called a Wobble) and start out in a bland grayscale world, with a 2D, Paper Mario-like art style, set in a 3D realm. The only real color stems from a portly looking woman, who acts as your guide for how to play Papermint.
The game walks you through the basic steps of play well enough, and upon finishing the tutorial (actually, you can leave at anytime) you’re on your way to fun and adventure. Right? Sort of, but first the highlights.
First and foremost, the level of personalization is phenomenal. Players can explore this bizarre world, turning things they touch to color, and harvesting the colors themselves. Already, there was something amusing to this virtual means of bringing the world to life, but learning that you could harvest the colors – from plants, anyway – was especially surprising.
Apparently, players can take this color and use it to create custom designs for their virtual clothing. Without going into all the details, players can learn and improve various professions such as gathering or designing, and based on their skill can make better and more elaborate creations to wear. Frankly, this was a phenomenal idea when it comes to self-expression, and easily the best part of Papermint.
Beyond the virtual careers of gathering and designing, players can also step into the roles of a Court Counselor that can perform weddings between two characters, or a Judge that can actually halt the communication of others (don’t worry, it’s not easy becoming a judge).
Of course, the game is still primarily about self-expression, so when they aren’t “working” players are also able to rent a virtual space called “flats.” As expected, this becomes an area for them to decorate with furniture and items they’ve collected during play, as well as a space to host virtual parties.
In order to do anything, one, of course, needs money, so Papermint incorporates the increasingly common in-game and virtual currency combination for monetization purposes. The in-game currency is dubbed Mints and grows around the Papermint world. As you can imagine, it’s not terribly difficult to get, but it does only last for 24 hours, coaxing users to use it or lose it. Furthermore, Mints are worth half that of the buyable virtual currency, Paper Coins, allowing those that spend a little real money to earn their virtual rewards faster.
Apparently, this wasn’t enough personalization as even the way your character moves can be reflective upon your mood. Beyond chat or animations, such as waving or dancing, players can actually set the mood of their avatar, thus changing both their facial expressions and even the way they walk. Consider it virtual body language.
Frankly, the only major complaint for Paperment is that everything is so focused on expression that there is almost nothing else to do. As one walks through the game, they can discover some mini-games here and there, but most of the time seems to be spent wandering around. Luckily, there are promoting social events (for example, a sort of virtual soccer game), but, sadly, these were all at X, Y, and Z times, so there wasn’t really anything to just grab the user and pull them in at the immediate time of play. For 15 to 35 year old females looking for serious gaming — or anyone else for that matter — Papermint is probably not be for them, but for some casual socialization, then yes, you might find it to be just perfect.
All in all, this is still a very creative new virtual world with a wonderful social outlet, and something that could be big with the target audience.