PaperBoy Review

Vivid Games has discovered how to reanimate the dead! Their first test subject was Paperboy, originally an 1984 release by Atari, has been taken to the iPhone/iPod Touch! Jointly with Warner Brothers Distribution, and Elite Publisher, they have made this classic available in the App Store!

It’s an extremely accurate recreation of the original game, the only differences are the different game modes, views, and lack of handlebar controller. You take charge of our brave hero, who evades drunks, cats, dogs, and radio-controlled cars, just like you did in your youth, when you still collected baseball cards.

When you start up the game, after a parade of developers and publishers, you are asked whether you want to play it in 2.5D mode (Classic) or 3D mode (3D) It’s somewhat of a toss-up between the two, since 2.5D looks better visually, but 3D gives you a better camera angle.

photo-2After you make the nostalgic choice, you see the classic art of Paperboy flinging the Daily News every which way, along with some pixellated buttons. The buttons are Start Game, Achievements (It doesn’t use Open Feint or anything), Options, Help, and About.

Pressing Start Game, you see four new options, and sadly, two are locked at first. There is Classic, Casual, Time Attack, and Challenge. Classic gives you the original head-against-the-wall difficulty, where Casual was made for today’s gamers, who aren’t awesome enough to handle Classic (It’s still pretty difficult though). In Time Attack, you have unlimited papers, but limited time. Challenge gives you different goals, which you have to reach in order to win.

Time Attack, Challenge, and Casual were all made to give the game a bit more longevity, but Time Attack and Challenge are different from Classic in other ways than just difficulty.

If you continue further, you can choose which street you want to play on, which is another difficulty setting. There is Easy Street, Middle Road, and Hard Way.

Going back to the Main Menu, if you go to Achievements, you can look at your trophies and high scores. If you tap Options, you can change your control scheme, volume, view, whether Paperboy auto-centers or not, and reset game. In help, you can read written tutorials.

Now that we got all that boring stuff out of the way, let’s move on to the gameplay. When you start the game, you’re shown a loading screen, and overview of the street, indicating which houses are which. The black ones are the non-customers, and you deliver your papers to the brown houses.

photo-1In the default setting for controls, you have a speed bar that you can move up and down, along with two arrows that move you from side to side. With Classic and Casual modes, you start out at the beginning of the street, and have to ride your bike down the sidewalk or road, delivering papers to customers, and breaking windows and statues of non-customers’ houses.

While you’re doing this, you’ll encounter obstacles which range from a street sign to a rabid dog off a leash. If you hit something, then you lose one of your lives, and Paperboy will say something like, “It’s just one of those days!”

If you break a customer’s window or light, the next day, you will lose them as a customer. Damaging a non-customers house has no ill effects, and if you do a perfect delivery, (Where you deliver papers to all the subscribers without damaging their homes) they will seemingly forgive you, and re-subscribe. (They also repaint their house!)

There are some particularly nasty obstacles, like the speeding cars at the end of the first block, not to mention the stereotypical breakdancer, bumbling drunks, annoying RC cars, drains, grates, construction workers, the grim reaper, on and on and on.

One time, on the first day on Easy Street, I had just delivered a paper perfectly into a mailbox. (That gives you bonus points by the way) As I was approaching the driveway of that very same house, the woman in the car waiting in the driveway, pulled forward to let me pass as customers often do. I was biking at a leisurely pace, and when I was smack-dab behind the car, she suddenly flipped it into reverse and ran me over! Then she did it again, while I was lying on the ground.

I wasn’t sure if this was a glitch or some cruel joke, since I had never seen that before. Anyway, look out for insane driveway drivers.

photoAt the end of the street, there is a dirt training course, where you can score some big bonus points. The faster you fly through it, the more points you get, the more targets you hit with your newspapers, the more points you get, and of course, if you crash in the water, or hit an orange cone, you lose all of your bonus points.

If you do manage to make it through this horrendously horrible uh… track of doom, you are greeted by the entire town, sitting in bleachers, waiting for their beloved knight in shining armor to return….

But you’re not done yet! After you’re done gloating, you may notice that you’re back at another loading screen, on a different day! (In the game, not real life) That’s right, you need to survive a week, delivering papers, with at least one customer or life at the end. If you lose all your customers, or you die before Monday comes around again, a newspaper pops up, and you get fired….

If by some miracle, or cheat that the developer didn’t anticipate, and you actually beat the game, yay for you!

You did cheat, didn’t you?

Anyway, the game, I would say, even though it has a simple objective, is worth the full price, which is $4.99. There is enough content, and it keeps you away from glorious, glorious victory long enough that you can continually play it without getting bored. The best part? You don’t have to go ask your parents for more quarters!

Game Rating


PaperBoy – $4.99

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  • Matt

    That is the most detailed review I’ve seen on this site, period. :D Great job, Aspen!

  • Nigel Wood, UK

    Yeah, good job… nice to see a young perspective on a classic such as this.


    Welcome Aspen, btw great job on the review.

  • Aspen Johnston

    Thanks! I’m happy to be here! :D