09 August 2014

Papers, Please (2013)

Game score: 80%
Platform: Steam, PC
Steam link:

It's games like this that really make you glad that a service such as Steam exists in this world. I seriously doubt it would find its way to consumers if it was to be published the traditional way. No, not because it's bad and it wouldn't find its way to customers - it is because publishers don't trust games that don't look good, they usually don't really care about the actual entertainment they provide. Papers, Please looks like it was made in mid eighties and it plays just as that - it's one of those games that takes you over without a warning and won't let go until you fully explore it.


Papers, Please lets you play as an immigration officer working at a border checkpoint of a fictional country of Arstotzka. The game shows you arriving to work every morning and gives you a set of rules for the day, rules that may or may not change the next day (as expected, the rules get more complicated with each passing day) as well as an occasional visits by supervisors and/or border guards. Your job is quite simple - inspect the documents provided by people who want to get into country and decide if they are clear to enter or not. At the start you only have a few things you need to pay attention to, such as name (if first and last name on the passport and entry pass match), weight and height, passport expiration date, visa expiration date etc, but as the game progresses to each day you will have to deal with various work permits, border passes, diplomatic passports, ID cards and so on. Sounds fun? No, not really, but for some reason it is! Since your salary depends on the number of people you inspected, you have to work quickly in order to provide food, heat and medicine for your family. Each correct decision gives you 5 credits while penalties depend on the number of wrong decisions. For example, if you approve a wrong person or deny someone with regular papers, you are given a warning the first two times it happens every day, but if you do it the third time - you are given a 5 credits penalty. The fourth is 10 credits and so on, you get the picture.

As if that was not enough, there's also a story of a quiet uprising in Arstotzka and you are approached by the rebels on several occasions. It's up to you to help them or not (they ask you to approve certain people with missing papers, confiscate passports from their targets etc) ultimately triggering one of twenty possible game endings. The main game lasts for up to 32 days (it can end earlier by getting killed, fired or whatever else) but it also features three unlockable endless modes that add a certain replay value.

Papers, Please is truly a unique game with an original idea. It is fun, it's addictive and it will make you play it more than once for sure, especially if you are an achievement hunter such as myself. Speaking of achievements, they are not hard at all and with a nice guide you can do them all in two or three playthroughs. It would take a lot more if you were to explore them yourself since some of them require you to do an exact set of actions in order to get the unlock. Well, your choice. All I wanted was to uncover this awesome little game and share it with you.

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