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Evergrow: Paper Forest review - A cute, but repetitive, puzzler

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Can't see the wood for the trees

Product: Evergrow: Paper Forest | Format: iPad | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Evergrow: Paper Forest iPad, thumbnail 1
As a general rule of thumb for video games, if the graphical design revolves largely around papercraft, you're probably onto a winner.

And Evergrow: Paper Forest is one of those games – a lovingly-crafted paper world with a promising puzzle mechanic that is enticing and intriguing in its presentation.

But look below its surface appeal and you'll find a confusing difficulty curve, repetitive puzzles, and overused environments that will lose their shine very quickly.

Follow the white rabbit

Evergrow gives you a grid of squares and tasks you with manoeuvring a paper bunny across every single one of them once without going back on yourself.

You can choose where you want to start, and then must tap the direction you want your bunny to hop in until it hits a wall.

Plan your route carefully enough and every blank square will fill with grass, and an entire forest will pop up around you to celebrate your win.

To make things interesting, some squares will be blocked with piles of rocks that stop you in your tracks, or pitfalls that kill you, or a helpful crossroad that will let you pass over the same block more than once.

These additional elements do add some extra challenge to the game, and when used effectively, make some truly head-scratching puzzles that can have you stumped for a very long time.

Hopping mad

But for some reason, the game will introduce a new concept and then immediately take it out for the next level, only to add it in a few levels later.

It's slightly jarring to be shown something that will completely change how you approach your route, only for it to be taken away before you have the chance to get used to it.

This affects the difficulty curve too, as the levels will suddenly go from hugely difficult to a walk in the park and back again faster than you can comprehend.

Puzzles also suffer overall, as you can go whole levels with just the same style of puzzle with nothing to mix proceedings up a bit, making the whole game feel repetitive and dull.

This is also not helped by the background and environment, which shows only minimal changes between levels and just feels lifeless and empty.

And – perhaps its greatest sin – the game offers up no kind of hint system, so if you get stuck, you're screwed until you eventually just brute force every route and find the right solution.

Bunny boiler

Evergrow has all the makings of something special – it's got a lovely style, a clever puzzle mechanic, and plenty of difficult levels to truly test your brain.

But when it all comes together, it's hampered by messy progression, ideas that are introduced and discarded with wild abandon, and a lack of hint system.

You can largely overlook its dull and repetitive environment, but it has far more problems at its core that hold it back from being a truly enjoyable puzzler.
Evergrow: Paper Forest review - A cute, but repetitive, puzzler
Reviewer photo
Ric Cowley | 24 April 2017
It may look cute and have a good premise, but Evergrow: Paper Forest falls flat under the lightest of scrutiny
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