Glory to Arstotzka!
Congratulations! You have been chosen for the honor to protect your great country at the border. Your task: to control who enter the great country of Arstotka!
What if they needed help running from war, though? Maybe their papers weren’t up-to-date but they haven’t seen their child in years?
What if they were a terrorist group bent on taking down your oppressive government, but your family would suffer because of it?
Exploring themes of government control and balancing the needs of people, “Papers, Please” starts simple but grows more and more complex. Broken families, human traffickers, and terrorists all bribe, lie, and cheat to get your sympathy.
“Papers, Please’s” themes create an interesting atmosphere for the game, but is it worth $9.99?
“Papers, Please” doesn’t really have gameplay.
The game stand along the lines of a point and click adventure. Given a new task and set of rules each day, the player must decide who will enter, who’s turned away, and who faces larger consequences.
The player, timed, with a quota over their head, is given a choice with each new person. Meaning if the player doesn’t meet standards or gets caught doing illegal things, the player can’t feed their family that night.
As long as the player can last through the month, no one will starve.
Depending on if the player’s kindness will get themselves in trouble.
While not impressive looking, “Papers, Please” uses the dark graphics and depressing sound effects to pull together an atmosphere of hopelessness.
Even if the player gets paid enough to feed the family, the game’s music doesn’t reflect any feeling of accomplishment. The player needs to find the feeling of doing well on their own, through little victories such as a small thank you from a dying women who wants to see her children.
“Papers, Please,” while a worthwhile experience, uses guilt to control what the player should do, compared to what they are told to do.
While “Papers, Please” is not for everyone, anyone who is interested in history or a good story would enjoy their time at the border crossing.