Papers, Please is a game I wasn't expecting a lot out of. Simple looks, simple sounding gameplay; so not a bad game, but nothing that would blow me out of the water. Boy was I wrong.
Papers, Please was created by Lucas Pope and released this August. In it you play the part of a border crossing guard who gets to decide who gets in to the country and who gets kicked out. But it's not just an endless stream of people coming through, it can be with endless mode, but there is an actual story attached to the game and the tedious task of checking passport after passport. You are from the communist country of Arstotzka (that's a made up country by the by) and the borders have been closed for the last six years. Now that it's open you must let people in based on perimeters that change on an almost daily basis. They change because every day something new happens in the bordering countries or in Arstotzka itself. Terrorist attacks, sickness, just plain old communist fun, these are all reasons for rule changes.
Everyday is timed and at the end of the day you go home with your pay, your pay being dictated by how many people your processed in that day ($5 a person). Now that you're home you have to pay for rent, food and heat, all on a daily basis; don't have enough money? You get to choose what your family doesn't have that night. That's right folks, not only is this an insane puzzle game that keeps dumping new challenges on you every time you get comfortable, but it also forces you to make really tough decisions about your characters life.
But wait! There's more! You'll face certain moral challenges in your daily work life. An early example a man and wife coming up one after the other. The man makes it through with all the correct paperwork, while his wife is missing some of her papers. Do you let her in? If you do you get a citation, which means you don't get paid. Or you can send her away and make your five dollars. With enough citations in a day you actually start getting docked pay. It can mean the difference between your family not having heat and letting a couple into the country together.
The game also has multiple different endings, so the replay value of this game is huge. Where this game can gets frustrating sometimes though with the small text that can be tough to read and the game does take some trial and error to spot all the little things that the game wants you to find on the passports and papers. But the faults are few and far between while the rest of the game is really fun to play. You really do get wrapped up in the world that is Papers, Please and for $10 you get hours and hours of fun.