Paper Boats, by Harry Alisavakis, is an amazing little title that’s all about sending out good vibes and checking out the scenery.
“It’s a visual treat, a wondrously vivid experience”
When I first started Paper Boats, I felt as if I were in a museum, beholding a painting of a lush, vibrant, autumnal setting. The mist rolls in the background, while in the foreground, a solitary lamp awaits its flame. I turn around to see yet another landscape painting, one that depicts a quaint town on the precipice of a mountainside. A lighthouse stands tall at the very edge, offering guidance to distant ships hidden within the fog.
This sums up my experience with Paper Boats nicely. It’s a visual treat, a wondrously vivid experience all about appreciating nature, soaking up the atmosphere, and enjoying kind words sent by strangers.
You can do very little in Paper Boats. You can write notes for others and watch as your ship begins its odyssey into the distance while a train rolls by in the background. You can throw stones into the lake, which is a surprisingly enjoyable experience. And, on occasion, you may receive a boat of your own carrying the words of a complete stranger.
“It’s serene, unique, wonderfully blissful, and breathtaking.”
While there may not be all that much to do, I found myself drawn to its Studio Ghibli-esque world. Its locale felt distinctly nostalgic, yet I couldn’t quite place where I’d been that was quite like it. Its world is both fantastical and yet grounded, offering familiar sights that feel just a little otherworldly. A house sits atop a cliff, smoke rolling from its chimney while a boat sits docked beneath it. A train travels across the water before snaking behind the mountain’s edge, fading out of existence. It’s serene, unique, wonderfully blissful, and breathtaking.
While this game is almost perfect, it’s soundtrack leaves a little to be desired. It’s not that the track itself is bad, more that it adds an eerie quality to the whole experience. I recommend playing with your own lo-fi beats, or perhaps just listen to the water as it ebbs and flows.
Paper Boats is a fantastic experience well worth having, especially if you’re a fan of Kind Words (lo-fi chill beats to write to). You can download Paper Boats over on itch.io, and be sure to check out Harry Alisavakis’ other titles there too.