Paper Cutter Games

Making games that offer not just an emotional experience, but new perspectives and greater empathy.

Complex themes

Mental health


Through collaboration with subject matter experts and striving for innovative storytelling, our complex themes are embodied in gameplay, not treated superficially.

What else makes our conversations unique?

That they continue beyond the credits roll.

Play meets lasting social impact.

Interested players are given resources and actions they can take in real life.


Our vision is a world where games, media, and people discuss mental health openly and accurately, anyone can access the healthcare they need, and whoever you are, whatever you’re going through, others respond with empathy.

That’s why all our projects include complex themes, mental health, diversity, and gameplay embodying these themes. We can break down stigma, misconceptions, and stereotypes without textbooks or edutainment. By changing ourselves for the better, we can change society and institutions. Our games offer not just emotional experiences, but new perspectives and greater empathy.

Verdant Vault

*Working title


Roguelite Turn-based Tactics, Dungeon Crawler

Inspiration pegs/comps

Final Fantasy Tactics x Nuclear Throne


Check out the prototype here!

Verdant Vault (working title) found its roots through inspiration from the classic Legend of Zelda games, Final Fantasy Tactics, Nuclear Throne, and Into The Breach. 

Set in a solarpunk world, where a climate catastrophe has been avoided, we opt for a breath of fresh air and explore what it means to have hope while also experiencing eco-grief.

Verdant Vault is the first game to deeply explore living with hope as well as eco-grief and to demonstrate the collective agency humanity needs to avoid the worst-case climate catastrophe. By combining roguelike turn-based tactics with base building, the core gameplay constantly presents risk/reward trade-offs that draw you into a mindset of stewardship. Nothing can end your expedition faster than recklessness and greed.

Complex Themes

Eco-grief, hope, human collective agency, stewardship

Mental health subject

Eco-grief: depression, helplessness, apathy


In character: disability, mental illness, PoC, etc.

Eco-grief-specific: shown through character interactions, behavior, dialogue; lore

Core theme embodied by gameplay

Stewardship: mindful pursuit of objectives while responsibly managing resources

The Story

200 years ago, the Seed War scarred the world. Seeds of many rare plants were stolen and stockpiled in seed vaults deep underground. Almost all vaults were lost to war, sabotage, or shoddy construction, but theories about a few lost, ancient hoards spark many curious and acquisitive imaginations.  

You control an expedition sent to build a research station near a newly rediscovered vault and explore it. Initial readings show that it extends far deeper than most wartime vaults. This expedition could rewrite history and revive species lost two centuries ago.

Your goal is to recover the rare seeds surely in cold storage at the bottom of the vault. Until then, salvaging supplies and seeds of common crops will sustain your expedition–if you spend them carefully.

But when you enter the seed vault, its 190-year-old defense system attacks. Somehow activated and out of control, the system forces your heroes to overcome aggressive robots as well as  environmental hazards. Still, this all but proves that this vault protects irreplaceable seeds thought to have vanished.     

With the stakes so high, you must constantly choose whether to take risks to strengthen your expedition or play it safe to ensure survival as you delve deeper into the vault.

The World

Verdant Vault is set in a science fantasy solarpunk world where some plant species reached sentience and created civilizations long before humans. Humankind advanced rapidly but recklessly, creating a climate crisis. Only changing course averted catastrophe–and led to a shared society of humans and sentient plants that has now stood for millennia.

The technologies and cultures of humans and sentient plants have largely fused, and their relations are generally harmonious. With robotics and other aids, some species of sentient plants move and communicate much like humans.

The expedition’s research station is mostly operated and upgraded by robot-assisted sentient plants, who tend to gain experience in mechatronics and related fields early in life. Humans usually explore the seed vault.


Project Filter

*Working title


2D Metroidvania, Action, Adventure

Inspiration pegs/comps

Hollow Knight x Inmost

With Project Filter (working title), we strive to highlight the interaction between mental health and daily life. 

We are working in collaboration with licensed psychologists and others working in mental health fields.

Our UX considerations extends  to sensitivity players so that we can present our targeted themes as accurately as possible. Project Filter avoids gross simplifications about mental health issues without transforming into a textbook on the subject matter or falling under the edutainment industry umbrella.

Complex Themes

Complex PTSD (c-PTSD), perception/perspective, healing from trauma

Mental health subject

c-PTSD: lived experience (conveyed mostly through metaphor and art)


In character: the story told is diverse and generally not told, i.e., living with c-PTSD, being forced to return to the source of trauma, finding out how to heal and move forward to a new normal

Core theme embodied by gameplay

c-PTSD: coping mechanisms (the “4Fs”) permit exploration and overcoming obstacles
Healing from trauma: healing via metacognition

Paper Cutter Games