The idea that Macs aren’t for playing games is history. Although the game we’re reviewing today is on Steam, it’s not really a game. It’s more of a simulator of worldly misery. We are the people in charge of a border crossing and we will make the decision whether or not to let immigrants and nationals into your country. How immoral can Papers Please be?
One of the independent games of the year, no doubt. Surely fun will not be one of the words in its description, as it is not. In all the analyses that have been made about the game around the world they agree on that. What it can be is entertaining, Machiavellian, atypical…
In Applesupportphonenumber we were able to test the beta of the game a few months ago and it gave us a very good feeling, but we have followed it up to today when we bring you the analysis of the whole game. The first hours of the game fly by, because after getting familiar with the controls you won’t be able to stop stamping passports.
Availability and prices
The game Papers Please, developed by Lucas Pope, can be found at Steam for Mac and PC, also at gog.com and at the Humble Store for the modest price of $9.95, and you can add a tip to support the developer at the last of the stores. However, you should be familiar with English, as it is currently only available in this language. If you want to test it before you buy you still have the opportunity to try out the beta , as it is still available on the developer’s website. By the way, the Steam version is the same as the others but incorporates achievements, statistics and save games in the cloud, although not cross-platform.
“Congratulations, your name has been chosen.” That’s how Papers begins, Please. You’ve been elected to a state job board, and you’re being posted to your new Ministry of Admissions job.
From now on we are the immigration inspector in charge of regulating entry at this border point. People from the surrounding countries will want to enter our great country to work, to visit, to escape, to immigrate, or simply to pass through it to reach their destination.
The story mode is very progressive: is composed of 31 days , in the first weeks we will improve the tools we have, depending on how the events develop. It should be noted that the story mode follows a pre-established script, but with 20 different endings -small variations-.
A Wiki has even been created with the script of all the days and all the endings with their respective itineraries so to speak. I’m not giving you the link so as not to reveal any information, it’s better that you discover it by playing the game, which is how it should be.
The daily routine will be to look at passports and check that everything is correct : the name matches that of the entry permit, the reference is correct, the photo matches, it is not expired and the dates match, it is not falsified, the gender matches, the date of birth, the transcript of what the immigrant has said, the identifier… Everything is in accordance with what the government stipulates at that time, depending on the political environment… Or not?
The game will bring out sides in you that you may not know. Some people don’t have their papers in order and will give you a tip to let them through, others will try to trick you, some just want to get together with their relatives or are simply running away from someone who is chasing them. Will you let them in Arstotzka, or will you refuse them entry?
You also have a family to feed and keep warm. That will be the challenge of every day: get enough income to pay the rent, pay for heating and food, and medicine for that family member who falls ill. However, it is not worth starting to stamp passports in a crazy way, if you make repeated mistakes after receiving the notices you will be sanctioned and in the end you will be arrested for being a bad patriot.
It is interesting to see how the characters, the interesting or funny people succeed each other. There is one, for example, who looks like a tramp, called Jorji Costava who will first come with a passport drawn by himself from Corbastan – a country that does not exist – and will appear on up to ten other occasions. Thus, several more, such as the guards at the border point, the director of the Ministry, the researcher, the man in red or the messengers of the EZIC order.
So far we’ve been talking about history mode. You have 31 days – if you don’t end up in detention first – and they last about 4 real hours. Then we can unlock the endless mode, endless mode . This mode is for those who want to focus only on stamping passports, in the more procedural part of the game.
In addition, in the latter mode you can set the type of game to score us in one way or another, and up to four different sets of rules that will determine what requirements are needed to cross the border. In the first type of game we will have 10 minutes to get the maximum number of processed or points, with a point for each correct traveler, + seconds for each stopped and -30 seconds for each error.
The type Perfection , which as its name indicates, ends at the first citation, at the first failure we make. And the type of start Endurance in which we will have to keep the balance of points in positive, taking into account that each correct stamp adds up to one point, the stops two points, and -5 points for each procedural error.
All this can be combined with as I said four levels of rules : in each successive set of rules more requirements will be added, from the identification card to the identity supplements to the vaccination certificates. By the way, you may see some strange names. If you see Pere Milkovich to give an example, let it go, it’s me!
During the beta process all users could upload a name to Lucas Pope’s website to appear in the game. In my case it was the first thing that came to mind and it was finally included along with 2,704 other names. It is worth noting that the game displays all 2,705 names before starting the list again. You will have to play a lot to see them all, if on a normal day you see about 10…
Graphics and soundtrack
You can judge the graphic section yourself. That’s what you see. We will be in our sentry box, quietly, with our desktop to examine documents, watching the hours go by… Yes, there is nudism in the game, as they say on the web, pixel-art nudism , which can be disabled in the options, and violence too pixel-art which cannot be disabled.
The soundtrack of the game is great, very communist. You can hear it in the trailer that accompanies this entry. It accompanies very well all the development of the game, being very minimalist, only during the times between days. All the buttons we press have sound, and in the background we will hear the street, whispers in the queue, the speakers, the voices…
You should definitely buy it , even if it means testing the beta first. It is a game that makes you rethink many things. For example, a girl supposedly a prostitute comes along, tells you that she is being chased and describes the stalker. The stalker passes by your house with all the papers in order: Do you let him in by following the rules and doing your job, or will you arrest him even if he hasn’t committed any crime?
The decisions you make in story mode will alter the ending, if a little variety is not welcome at the end of the story, if you get there at all. In several games I’ve played I haven’t reached the 31st yet, besides the whole family dying, I’ve been arrested for not being patriotic enough apparently and I’ve accepted bribes. The neighbors snitched. As I say, all the games I’ve played have started the same way but they’ve all ended differently.
I warn you, as soon as you open the window you cannot stop stamping . According to the developer it’s currently on the desktop version, but doesn’t rule out an iPad version, it would be 10. Now you know, what I said:
We raffled off a copy of the game
In Applesupportphonenumber we want to give you the opportunity to play this game at home, and that’s why we draw a Steam code for this game by just following a few simple steps:
- Follow us on Applesupportphonenumber’s Twitter and retweet this article (you can use the buttons at the beginning and end of the article). You can also follow us on our Facebook and Google+.
- Leave a comment in this same post telling us what the best thing is about the game, specifying your Twitter user and making sure your email account used is valid (if you are the winner, we will contact you via email). Only the first comment from the same user counts.
- Registration for the draw begins at the time of publication of the article and ends on September 22, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. Among all those registered so far and who meet the requirements, we will draw a promocode for the game.
- The draw will take place through the online service Random.org and the winners will be published the day after the resolution in this article.
- If the winner does not respond within three days, the prize will be passed on to the next winner and so on until the prize is awarded.
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