Papers Please [Game Review]

Congratulations! The October labour lottery is complete and your name was pulled. For immediate placement, report to the Ministry of Admission at Grestin Border Checkpoint. A Class-8 dwelling apartment will be provided for you and your family in East Grestin.

Papers, Please is a 2013 video game created by indie developer Lucas Pope. It was developed and published under his pseudonym 3909. Released intentionally for Microsoft Windows and OS X in 2013 a Linux version followed in February 2014 as well as a port for the PlayStation Vita in August 2014.

The game focuses on the working as an immigration officer, deciding who to allow access and who to deny entry to. It is set in the fictional dystopian country of Arstotska in 1982. Think of any stereotype communists country from that era and you’re pretty much spot on.

In your day job you have to work within ever changing day to day immigration policies. Which puts a surprising amount of weight and stress on on your shoulders. The amount of information you need to double check ramps up and the consequences for failure do so as well.

papers_please_gender_discrepancyAt the end of each day you have to divide up your earnings. Can you afford to pay for heating and food for your family today? Will you be able to afford medicine tomorrow. Before you know it you’ll be heading home to a dying wife and starving child. Sometimes opportunities to make extra money on the side will arise, but it’s a risk to take them.

Who would have thought that a game about paperwork could be so…thrilling? Maybe not thrilling, enthralling. If you give me any paperwork to do in my day job and I’ll give you the evil eye. Give it to me in a video game and I’ll happily spend hours starring at documents trying to find a flaw just to deny someone who looks mildly shifty.

Throughout the game play, obviously the biggest challenge is keeping up with all of the rules and double checking everything so you don’t get fined, thus taking even less money home to your family. However, there are a surprising amount of story lines and characters that you will run across. How you interact with these will change your game meaning that the replay value for this game is pretty high.

It’s currently £6.99 on Steam, which is a bargain. A must play in my opinion!

Verdict: Thumbs Up

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