Paper Ghost Stories: 7PM Review

Paper Ghost Stories does what it says on the tin; there’s a story, about ghosts, and this presented in a papercraft style. It’s a short affair – around 30 minutes for a single playthrough should we try and find everything – but this isn’t a bad thing by any means. In fact, the short runtime meant I was eager to jump back in for anther go, though admittedly twice was enough for me.

As short as it is I’ll naturally not spoil much, other than to say we follow the tale of Yun, Ming, and Lun as they listen to Aunty Fung’s story of her strange new neighbours. The story seems to set the kids imaginations wild – or perhaps there’s more to things than they are willing to believe.

The papercraft style is nicely handled, with conversations handled with traditional text boxes and character cut outs. What I really enjoyed though was the brief time we get to explore the small area 7PM takes place in. Using Unreal4 might seem overkill but it allows some neat effects and lighting that make it feel like we’re looking a diorama rather than looking at a screen. This was the part that surprised me the most for sure, and encouraged me to explore a tad more to see the rest of the area.

Within that area there are a handful of characters, mini-games, and optional texts to find that flesh out the tale as well as bump up our final completion percentage. These aren’t hard to find for the most part (though my second playthrough only ended on 85%) but are spread out as best they can be here. It’s worth hunting for all available interactions, as much for the story as to pad the runtime out.

Dialogue options feature, though much like the rest of the title are used sparingly over the short play time. These again affect the ending percentage as well as our understanding of the tale, though there’s nothing life or death as we might see in Telltale’s output for example.

Another neat element of the dialogue is the use of mixed and broken languages. Part Korean, part English, there’s a sense of broken translation as well as some literal translation when actual Korean words are used. While this amounts to nothing more than a language lesson of sorts, its still a neat way to make the game feel more authentic to the location instead of having everyone speak perfect English and the slang that goes with it.

I’m all for shorter games these days, though I do feel that Paper Ghost Stories: 7PM takes things a little too far. Just as it feels the story gets going it ends, with a sudden reveal that could have used a little more build up. Early teases of a more horror element go nowhere and while the ending is strangely wholesome, having more chance to affect the outcome would have been a nice touch. At less than a fiver we can’t complain too much – this is a solid hour or so for those looking for something short and sweet – but the frustration comes in that there’s the potential for just that bit more to have made this a far easier recommendation.

Conclusion

Paper Ghost Stories: 7PM is a short tale, though one we enjoyed while it lasted. Here’s hoping we can get some more fleshed out tales in the future.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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Good
  • Great aesthetic style
  • Short and to the point...
Bad
  • ...although maybe a bit too short
  • Doesn't flesh out the tale enough
6.5
Okay
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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