I want to ask you a question of simply what motivates you? Is it family? What about the dreams that we all have? Maybe it’s believing in the helping of others? Any of these answers and more could be the answer. Many things can inspire us…to motivate us in ways that we may not have really asked ourselves or thought about. Sometimes just simple emotions or words can make a spark on the journey to our destination. But does the developer, 3DAR, and producers Baobab Studios bring the story or inspiration and discovery to life? Let’s find out with Paper Birds: Part I & II for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2.
Paper Birds: Part I & II is an interactive story about a young boy who must find his way through the world of darkness to bring back his sister that was taken away by a mysterious darkness. I do not want to ruin any of the magic that is told here for anyone. So with that said, there are just a few things that you will want to do to make sure your experience is the best it can be. First, find your favorite chair and get comfortable. Second, use headphones. Third, enable hand tracking if you have not done so already as it does add to the experience. And finally, this is best if you can view the entire experience without any interruptions, so clear about 35 minutes of time. With that said, let’s continue.
When Paper Birds: Part I & II first starts out, you are introduced to the voice of the young boy, Toto (voiced by Archie Yates) talking about the messengers that are the Paper Birds. As we soon find out, the Paper Birds only come out at certain times between worlds. As the birds seem to bring the light of inspiration into the sky, that light soon becomes darkness as we are introduced to the town where Toto lives. Seeing Toto move in what would be a gloomy town to others, but somehow, Toto finds the positive in it all as he has his favorite spot to sit and play the music that he loves to play. And as Toto plays, this is when we get the chance to interact with the music with our hands that really makes the sky light up. And it’s at this moment, that I knew I was in for something special.
This is when we are introduced to Toto’s sister. And just like any sibling relationship, he tries to annoy her and she gets easily annoyed. But Toto realizes that his sister is her own person with her own world which is different from his. And that’s when we see her playing and she was taken by a mysterious darkness, but not sure as to why.
As we are introduced to Toto’s grandfather, Robert (voiced by Edward Norton), we learn that Robert is the most respected musician in the town. Robert cares about Toto and his sister very much and Toto feels the same. It’s this relationship of family, without parents, that really shows the special bond they have. But it’s when Toto tells his grandfather about what he found and a Paper Bird, do things really start to get interesting as something mysterious is within reach. But what are the secrets that are being kept? What could it all mean? This is where you need to watch and experience part I.
As we are introduced to part II, we hear Robert telling his side of the story about him and Toto’s grandmother, Elsa (voiced by Joss Stone) that we get to really see what is eating at Robert. As they are at the club, the music starts to play as you see the band from the introduction of the bass, piano, drums, and trumpet start playing this beautiful harmony that really pulls in the atmosphere and almost becomes this special character all on its own that just needs to be seen as well as heard. But we learn that Robert was part of the band, but something is holding him back and Elsa is doing everything to encourage that passion of music that Robert has, but just seems kind of lost. This is when the world starts with the trees start to light up in a way, almost trying to help. As we see an older Elsa, she is determined to show that the care she has for her family will not be interrupted by any force that will stand in the way.
Let’s talk about graphics and sound. Watching Paper Birds: Part I & II come to life and unfold really is beautiful. From the character design to the way you get to interact with the story shines on the Oculus Quest 2. Hearing the voices of the actors play the parts along with the music and narration really help bring this story to life. If there is anything I would like to see added is just more of the story. I really hope there is a part III down the line as there could be more to tell.
Paper Birds: Part I & II show us how storytelling should be. It allows the world around you to open up and invite you along for the journey. It shows that even though we may all have secrets, but sometimes those secrets can become a burden that we start to lose focus on what really motivates us in life. Sometimes we just need that one person to show us the light, to allow us to be found when we appear to be lost. And it’s those times when we are found can we truly find the inspiration of the motivation not only for ourselves but for others along the way.
Paper Birds: Part I & II is out now for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 on the Oculus Store. A review code was provided.
To learn more about 3DAR, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and join their Vimeo. To learn more about Baobab Studios, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I feel motivated by this inspiration.