Papers, Please is a downloadable puzzle game set in the fictional country of Arstotzka, a country devised after the idea of Soviet Russia during the Cold War. Developed by one man, Lucas Pope, Papers, Please may be his only serious game, but it’s greatly considered his magnum opus to many people. Originally released on PC on the 8th August 2013, the game quickly gained popularity – in part because of YouTube – and was soon released on iOS, Mac, PS Vita, and even Linux operating systems.
How to Download Papers, Please
You can download Papers, Please from GOG.com or Steam. To proceed, click on the Download button at the end of this review. There’s even a short movie based on the game. Why not go and watch it? It’s free!
The Game Review
The setting in Papers, Please is a dark one that revolves around a nameless civilian taking a job at his local border control station to afford rent, heating, and food for their struggling family during this trying time for all of Arstotzka’s citizens. Throughout each day of checking people’s documents to see if they’re lying, threats to the country will be around the main character at all times. It will be threatening to cut their day short, as well as their pay, potentially harming their family members in the long run. As time goes on, the situation inside and out of Arstotzka gets bleaker and bleaker, all of that while the player’s job just keeps getting harder.
The premise of Papers, Please is incredibly simple to understand. The player is tasked with talking to people at the border, looking over their documents, and seeing if they’re allowed to come into the country.
At the very start of the game, it’s incredibly simple; for the most part, all the player has to do is look at the passport provided, check to see if some basic information matches up, such as their gender or that their face matches their passport photo.
By the end of the day, depending on how many people the player manages to deal with successfully each day, they will receive a higher amount of pay.
On the off chance that the player makes a mistake, their pay will be docked somewhat for that day. At the very end of the day, after all of the wages have been tallied up, the player must make the decision on what necessities to spend their money.
Depending on their decisions it can create problems down the line, such as their grandparents getting too cold because the heating can’t be turned on, as a result, they will become sick and an even greater burden on the player.
With each day, the story will develop about Arstotzka and everything that’s happening around it, especially with the numerous terrorist attempts on the country. Some days new policies will come into place, such as an X-Ray scanner, and other days they simply won’t allow people in from certain countries. The restrictions and mechanics get changed around so often as to stop the repetitive nature of the game from becoming boring.
Visually, the game has a rather dark pixel-art style to it that keeps the colors bland and the settings dull to really inspire this mundane nature of the job. The gameplay is designed to make the player feel as if they’re working a monotonous 9-5 in a horrible setting, and the visuals merely reflect that.
Any fan of puzzle games or story will find a lot to enjoy in this one. The puzzle’s start off nice and simple, but quickly start to ramp up as more equipment and restrictions are brought in, almost at random. While the story may be somewhat dark and dismal, it keeps the player engaged from the very get-go.