Monday, November 4, 2013

PC Spotlight #43: Papers, Please

Title: Papers, Please
Developer: Luca Pope
Platforms: PC, Mac
Price: $9.99
Strip away all its other elements and Papers, Please would still be a fun game of logic and matching. But amidst the story and premise, that simple game of logic and studying documents becomes a thoughtful experience with surprising emotional resonance.
You're the lucky citizen who's been tasked with running the border patrol booth of the USSR-esque country Arstotzka. From this tiny booth, you hold incredible power; with your stamp of approval, you can allow the tired huddled masses into your country or turn them away. At its core, that's the extent of the gameplay: look for discrepancies and signs of errors and forgeries, interrogate the suspicious citizens, and make your decision. But Papers, Please is so much more than that. From your little window slot and desk, you become the linchpin in fates both big and small, from the entire country to the individuals before you to your very family. Do you allow that mother into your country, separated from her son for so long, despite an erroneous entry ticket? Do you overlook mistakes to earn more money for your starving family, barely clinging to life in their government-provided tenement? Do you abuse your power to strip and search the people before you, or turn them over to Arstotzka's secret police for more earnings? It's these choices, this subtle world building, the realization that your decision is more than a simple Decline or Entry, but that effect the entire lives.
Across both its story campaign and endless mode, Papers, Please is an engrossing experience that may surprise in its ability to test your morals and present difficult choices. You can purchase the game from the developer's site, Steam, and a variety of other stores.

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