Papers, Please is a very unique game that I’m unable to categorise by genre. You play the game as a passport officer in a fictional country struggling to make ends meet financially. I guess the game could be described as an emotional pressure simulator? Or something along those lines.
You spend the bulk of the game at your passport office which has an area to view the immigrant, a desk to read documents on and a small area to store documents away. Immigrants come to your desk, having being called by your loudspeaker and present the documents they have to try and gain access. Sometime the documents are correct, sometimes they’ve made a mistake that can be corrected, sometimes they have forged the documents, sometimes they have a bomb, sometimes they’re illegally trying to gain entry, etc. The game’s objective is to keep your family alive by processing as many people per day correctly in order to make the most amount of money to pay bills, buy food, get medicine, etc. A number of people will come to your desk with offers that you improve your chances but sometimes at risk to yourself. For example one of the border police will offer to give you a cut of his money for every person you detain and a shady organisation will keep popping up asking you to help members gain entry.
Once someone is at your desk, you have a range of tools available to try and decide if they should be allowed access, denied access or detained. On your desk is a rulebook which contains rules like: everyone requires a passport, the passport must be in date, citizens require a valid citizen card, no one can enter with illegal items or firearms, etc. As you progress the rules start to add up making it easier to miss little details causing you to get “written up” for doing your job wrong. You eventually unlock upgrades to your desk, the ability to detain people, do full body scans, etc.
I enjoyed playing Papers, Please for a good hour before it started to get repetitive but the game is exceptionally cheap to purchase. I was beginning to get irritated by one particular rule which required you to check the country/city on a persons paperwork which involved trying to read the rulebook in a very limited amount of space and constantly needing to find the right page for the country. Basically, it was getting a bit too much like work and less like fun.
The graphics are pixelated 2d retro style with a unique take on colours. Audio amounts to indistinguishable noises during dialogue and music that gets old fairly quickly.
I didn’t experience any bugs.
Papers, Please is a very unique game that is worth trying just to experience but i couldn’t recommend it, primarily due to how quickly it gets old.