Papers, Please: A Review for an Indie Classic

Papers, Please: A Review for an Indie Classic

Platforms: Computer (Windows, Mac, Linux), Playstation Vita and iPad. 

Genre: Simulation

Mode: Single-Player

When did Papers Please Come Out?

Papers, Please was released on August, 2013 and is the game that brought Lucas Pope at the forefront of indie video games. You play as an immigration officer in communist Arztotzka, where you have the power to admit or deny entry to the people trying to cross the border. The hardest part, of course, is knowing that you have a choice – will you overlook a falsified passport so a family can reunite? Or will you join the resistance and face the consequences? (actually, the hardest part is quickly scanning through passports, ID cards, biometric data, and id supplements or special authorizations without making a mistake and being fast enough to process these documents so you get paid enough not to freeze to death or watch your family die from illness and starvation, but you get my point). 

What Is Papers Please About?

Highly addictive but quite depressing, Papers, Please is about reaction time and an ability to focus. Once you succeed through 31 days without dying or losing your job, you can unlock endless mode, which means you can play as long as you want without worrying about having to start over. This game has a high replay value, you can play as a stickler for the rules, an undercover rebel or a man trying to help his family survive: there are 20 different endings. 

Newspaper article as seen in Papers, Please the video game.

Is Papers, Please Worth it?

Once you start playing, it isn’t hard to understand how this game has become a classic: it has sold more than 1.8 million copies. It has won 9 awards, including the Innovation Award from the Game Developers Choice Awards, the Seumas McNally Grand Prize and the Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award. The gameplay is smooth, the soundtrack is iconic, the pixel art is wonderful – the color palette is dark and really sets the tone. The characters are so endearing that one of them even has his own Youtube compilation. Papers, Please has achieved an atmosphere that is instantly captivating, so much that it has already inspired a short film, written by Liliya and Nikita Ordynskiy. Lucas Pope envisioned a short game that he would finish in less than a month. He has now created not only a game, but a community of indie gamers who want a little bit more out of games – and he won’t disappoint, not with his recently launched mystery adventure game, The Return of Obra Dinn. I can’t be the only one who’s wondering what’s next for him! 


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