Death by a thousand paper cuts
Horror usually comes in two or three main styles in video games. You get games like Outlast, which are horrific overtly, you get games like Little Nightmares, which are deeply unsettling, and then you get games like My Beautiful Paper Smile, which make me feel ill. In some ways, obvious horror is far easier to deal with; it’s one of the reasons that movie monsters are often less scary once you’ve seen them; your imagination is much worse than anyone else’s, at least when it comes to your fears.
My Beautiful Paper Smile is already creepy as all hell just by the title alone. It could easily be some adorable Journey-esque adventure into childlike drawings and innocence, but it’s not. Instead, it’s a story about a world obsessed with abnormal science and dark obsessions. One that has you playing as a Joyous, a child who wears a mask at all times, and one who is trained to be perfect. That’s, honestly, enough to have my skin crawling already, but the art style is what really sells this for me.
The game is in monochrome and looks like it’s been pulled out of a child’s notebook, the kind that you’d doodle in when you’re meant to be listening to the teachers. Except, everything is off, it’s like if you came home and all of your furniture had been rotated by 1 degree, it’s not obviously wrong, but you’d realise that something was up, and it’d take you a while to figure out what.
The good news is that My Beautiful Paper Smile is launching in Early Access soon, so you’ll be able to live through this horror show before long. Happy times? If you want something to play in the meantime, why not check out one of the 50 best indie horror games?
Jason is the Editor of The Indie Game Website. He’s a lover of roguelikes, soulslikes, and other kinds of likes. He basically spends a lot of time getting beaten up in games and seems to enjoy it.