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Review: 'Papers Please'

Papers Please


"Papers Please" is certainly a unique game. Self-described as a "dystopian document thriller", "Papers Please" is a unique mix of puzzles and storytelling.

You play as an unnamed boarder immigration worker in the fictional European country of Arztoska. You either let people into the country or deny them based off of rules of that day. Your primary tools to do this are the rule book which will have all of the rules of that day and will have the map which will show all of the surrounding countries and cities that can issue passports. The second tool is the inspect tool, which you use to find errors and lies in people's documents. Once a discrepancy is found, you can choose to interrogate that person to find out more information before you make a final decision.

The first few days of the game feel fairly straight forward with only a few rules to check and decisions to either accept or deny people come fairly quickly and the game feels like a standard puzzle game. The more days pass by, however, the more rules get stacked up and the more things that need to be checked and the game gets more frantic. If you mess up, you get a few warnings and will eventually be penalized money And even fired.

At the end of each day, you get a tally of all of your income and expenses. Every day you need enough money to pay for rent, food, and heating for your family. Not having enough money can cause your family's health to deteriorate which will add an extra medicine expense for each person.

The longer the game goes, you encounter more personal problems that can interfere with your work and you have to make more difficult choices. This is where "Papers Please" really shines. Do you choose to help out a rebel group in order to get extra money? Do you let in an elderly woman to see her son despite not having proper paperwork? Or do you call for a friend to be arrested when you see him smuggling drugs across the boarder? Or do you simply bow to your employer's whims? Each of these decisions comes with pros and cons and you need to weigh each of them carefully. These decisions often come with long-term consequences and will culminate into one of 20 different endings, so "Papers Please" has plenty of replay value.

"Papers Please" is currently available for $10 on the Steam Store and is highly recommend it if you want a puzzle game with plenty of unique twists.