Paper Valley Drifts Onto Steam

It’s almost a VR cliche at this point how many bow and arrow-based games are available.  Hold the bow in one hand, draw the arrow in the other, and let fly using only your skill plus enabled bonus modifiers to hit the target.  It’s a system that tracks almost perfectly to the motion controllers, but it’s not the only way to deliver a projectile to its target.  Paper Valley takes a complete pass on any form of weaponry and replaces it with the humble paper airplane, because as a rule it’s not particularly effective to attack the dead world you’re hoping to revive.

Paper Valley initially came out on the Oculus store but as of today has also been released on Steam, adding Vive compatibility to its former Rift exclusivity.  It’s a peaceful little game about standing in a world while paper airplanes flit about, and you can grab one from the swarm and toss it towards the targets that bring a little bit more of the world to life when hit.  There’s no consequence to missing, because Paper Valley is more about the experience than the challenge, and even if you deplete the airplane supply a new one will appear in a bubble.  Toss an airplane, twist your throwing hand as it flies to influence its curve, and either feel slightly smug as the plane homes in on its target or gesticulate wildly to attempt to save a bad throw.  Paper Valley won’t judge you for a bad toss, but the little voice in the back of your head knows you could have done better.

Paper Valley is a lovely and peaceful little thing, not particularly long but a pleasant journey from start to finish.  It doesn’t quite live up to its aspiration of hanging with thatgamecompany’s Flower or Journey but, to be fair, that’s a pretty high bar to clear.  What it succeeds at is modeling the feel of throwing a plane, making it deeply satisfying to let loose a shot that pegs the ancient machinery reviving the land.  The reward for success is a prettier world and the feeling of becoming an airplane ninja, which is a strange little combination but surprisingly effective.  It’s available now on both Steam and the Oculus Store for the VR headset of your choice (so long as it’s one of the two major ones) and makes for a relaxing, pretty vacation from the world.