“Approved Stamp – Slightly used. Like new. Denied Stamp – Heavy wear. Still functional,” reads one of the eight Steam Trading Cards for “Papers, Please.” This sentence alone perfectly encompasses the theme and story of the game. “Papers, Please” is a video game available on the Steam content distribution app.
The game takes place in a fictional country nearly identical to Soviet Russia. In this fictional country, a six-year civil war has come to an end and you are put in the body of a worker who just won the October 1982 Labor Lottery. You and your family (wife, son, mother-in-law, uncle, and niece) are sent to a Class Eight apartment in East Grestin. There you take on the role of an immigration inspector, checking the passports and other documentation of people attempting to cross the newly opened border of communist Arstotzka.
You encounter forged documents, secret societies, terrorist attacks, all while attempting to keep yourself out of Big Brother’s watch. You must do all of this while trying to keep your family healthy, warm, and alive because this communist country will release you from your job if you don’t “support a large healthy family.”
But watch out, Big Brother also doesn’t approve of workers running into debt. After all, how must one live if they owe a meager five credits to the Arstotzka government? Attempt to keep your job (and your life) as long possible, all while encountering tons of intricate characters and stories along the way.
I have been glued to this game since it was downloaded. With twenty different endings and an endless mode, this game has play-through value and easily 15-100 hours of playtime. With so many different well-designed mechanics, this game is worth the $9.99 price. “Papers, Please” is more interesting than the majority of the game in my library. I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys political commentary, along with an intellectual challenge.
Rating (Out of 10)
Play-through value- 9/10