Raph Toulouse called his first project, Fat Mask, a "designer's game." He remembers bringing it to conventions and having to explain how it worked to everyone who got in line to play it. "We wanted to make a Towerfall-like puzzler but it was so tiring showing it at events," he said, players didn't understand the concept. "The biggest question people always asked was 'how can I kill my friends?'"
Fat Mask, the first game from Montreal-based developer Paper Cult, was a major learning experience for him and cofounder Michael Emond. "It was a total commercial failure," Toulouse said. Toulouse wanted to make something easily understandable that players could pick up and jump into easily after the confusion their first game caused. He loved Hotline Miami, so he decided to work from there.
Paper Cult's next project turned into Bloodroots, a top-down brawler where almost every item in a level is a weapon. Every stage has the player improvise a murderous rampage, using everything from swords to carrots to kill a group of enemies spread out across the map. Levels are split into smaller, bite-sized pieces to keep the action moving quickly.