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Hybrid genres are the way to go, and Atari know it. Paperboy isn't just a vehicle sim, or a race game - it's a game of urban exploration, diplomacy, reflexes and adventure.

Based loosely on the star-studded movie of the same name from 2012, Paperboy ditches the film-noir elements and much of the thought-provoking stuff about death row and small-town justice, replacing it for the most part with the tale of a teenager on a bike delivering newspapers along a suburban street. The game's isometric viewpoint cleverly allows players to see the houses to which they're delivering the newspapers while also not distracting from the multiple hazards that appear to menace you as you ride your bike along the pavement. Breakdancers, drunks, giant cats and even Death Himself appear to try to stop your progress. Most of these elements are new to the game and build on the lore of the original movie in new and interesting (if frankly bemusing) ways.

Gameplay is emergent in that your success in the basic task (namely delivering newspapers to subscribers along the road) comes back to affect your progress on later days in the game's week-long story arc. If you manage the herculean task of delivering to each and every subscriber on the street, a new subscriber will appear on the following day giving you further opportunities for achieving a high score. However, if you fail to deliver to a subscriber or damage their property in some way, they won't just cancel their subscription - in later levels they may even exact their revenge by setting traps on their property to make your progress more hairy.

Damage! That's right. By slinging your newspapers and running stuff over there are a number of ways for you to spread mayhem - ideally to the homes and properties of non-subscribers. Sometimes, however, accidents (or moments of inexplicable destructiveness) happen to the best of us - Wang a newspaper through the window of a subscriber and you can forget about their business in the future. And instead you can think of them as targets for further mayhem.

At the end of the street is a training course where you can let off some steam (and rack up some points) ragging your BMX off jumps and biffing targets with your newspapers. After the tension of trying to get a perfect delivery on the street, this bonus section is risk-free - even a crash won't cost you a life. That said, in a game all about scoring points, it does provide an invaluable opportunity to bag some serious bonus bank.

Graphically it may appear a smidge behind the curve for 2013, but the isometric viewpoint works perfectly for showing you just enough of the street so that you can operate effectively while not giving too much away about the future - you'll still have to react quickly as obstacles appear. While the isometric POV was a bold decision, I feel it works well here.

Newspapers as weapons, a BMX as a vehicle and break dancers as enemies; there's no way you can accuse Paperboy as being formulaic. In a world of carbon-copy FPSes, Paperboy is refreshingly original and is a game I expect we'll still be talking about decades after its release.

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