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Papers, Please Image
Metascore
85

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 948 Ratings

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  • Summary: The communist state of Arstotzka has just ended a 6-year war with neighboring Kolechia and reclaimed its rightful half of the border town, Grestin. Your job as immigration inspector is to control the flow of people entering the Arstotzkan side of Grestin from Kolechia. Among the throngs of immigrants and visitors looking for work are hidden smugglers, spies, and terrorists. Using only the documents provided by travelers and the Ministry of Admission's primitive inspect, search, and fingerprint systems you must decide who can enter Arstotzka and who will be turned away or arrested. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. Aug 12, 2013
    100
    A true game, with a base gameplay that gets more and more complex as we play, with subtle touches and ruleset changes. But it's so much more as well : a deep dive in a terrifying dystopia, brilliantly crafted, that will put your life into perspective and awaken your political consciousness with both violence and humor.
  2. Aug 14, 2013
    90
    Evil is performed by men in suits, golden pens in their chest pockets, and stamps in their hands. With a single move with their wrists, they sign death warrants, never seeing the consequences of their actions, maybe not even caring about them.
  3. Aug 31, 2013
    90
    Papers, Please manages to make the apparently boring profession of border guard incredibly engaging and thrilling. Music, graphics and writing all contribute to an oppressive atmosphere that pulls the player in and holds them captured.
  4. Sep 9, 2013
    85
    Well-paced, straight-forward game play combines with vivid storytelling to make into a fantastic game. More than a tale of bureaucratic spot the difference, Papers, Please is a game of intrigue and excitement balanced by fear for your family.
  5. Oct 3, 2013
    80
    It's a tribute to the Cold War. An addictive game that's full of sarcasm and social commentary. A game that you should definitely try.
  6. Sep 18, 2013
    80
    Papers, Please is anything but a standard adventure, but beneath the seemingly unappealing premise of bureaucratic drudgery and human misery lies a fascinating game of choices, surprises, and intrigue.
  7. 60
    A novel, stylish game taking advantage of its minimal design more than you would believe, and it succeeds in arousing your emotions, which is the thing other game titles could dream of. [Issue#233]

See all 40 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 15 out of 210
  1. Sep 4, 2013
    10
    It took two sentences about the concept and about 5 seconds to sink in before I said, "TAKE MY MONEY". It has completely lived up to my expectations. It manages to set a wonderful atmosphere with surprisingly little. It's elegantly designed, plays well, and makes me want to keep coming back for more. It has a story mode with 20 endings and an "endless" mode. I've found that doing the right thing in the story mode doesn't always get you a good outcome, and it's left me laughing more than once. I've also found myself moving too fast and swearing when I get written up for missing one of the many details that can be wrong, but if you don't move fast enough, you won't make enough money to take care of your family. It's a great combination of both the need for speed and the need for accuracy that makes it work. It's my favorite game of the year so far and I've even been to PAX and seen all sorts of new games! Expand
  2. Aug 10, 2013
    10
    I was surprised at how interested I would be in this game, I was skeptical at first because playing an immigration inspector sounds incredibly boring, I only expected to get 30 min out of it. (For only 10 dollars it was worth a try.) But once I started playing, the ability to decide who passed through, deciding the fate of not only other people but yourself. As you progressed more was added to keep you playing, and if you lost, you didn't have to start all over again. It has excellent replay value as one can try to unlock all the different endings.

    Glory To Arstotzka!
    Expand
  3. Aug 8, 2013
    10
    This is an AMAZING game. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did, I thought it'd get boring after a while, turns out, it doesn't. So many things are added that keep it fun and exciting, and some of the smaller things are great too. This game really brings me to think about morals, when do you break the guidelines? What do you risk, letting someone with a weapon through, and being able to feed your family from a bribe, or do you be a good guy by the book and detain him? This is an amazing game, and I hope everyone else enjoys it as much as I do. Expand
  4. Dec 22, 2013
    9
    An astonishing gaming experience, 'Papers, Please' delivers on its premise and then some, managing to be entertaining, addictive, thought-provoking and funny at the same time. True, it's not a game that will suit the impatient (the Michael Bay's of this world will be confused at the lack of mindless explosions and FPS style of gameplay) but for the rest of us it's a unique game that is thoroughly worth the price of admission. Expand
  5. Oct 17, 2013
    8
    I didn't expect much from a game with the concept of marking passports. But this offers unique story, CHARACTERS (Yes, a passport game with CHARACTERS. Amazing!), and gives you choices that affect the game.

    Whats not to love? Characters bribing you and illegal yet emotionally effecting or those who pay you higher than your actual paycheck will bring challenge into the game. It may be called "retro", but its old-school and something you can always go back to. Even though it does get repetitive, boredom is at a respected minimum thanks to the story. A strong, good story, which blew me away. The realism doesn't get ridiculous and just gets challenging and more and more lovable. Entry or deny; you feel like making a huge decision with just stamping one passport late into the game, with a great ending(s), depending on what YOU chose to do. It gives you so much choice and power. For the cheap price and upcoming fun for new players, go and buy it. You won't regret.
    Expand
  6. Oct 4, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The game has a great and unique concept and I must say I enjoyed the setting (working as a customs official in a totalitarian country) a lot. The presentation is great, the music is also very much fun. The author is obviously a genius. Still I'm not giving it a 10 but only 8 because the game somewhat lacks in actual gameplay. The gameplay is just about matching overwhelmingly large quantities of data, and this is very tiring and leaves you just exhausted and with a headache rather than providing a fun experience. Surely, the author tried hard to keep the small portions of fun coming in: here you get a spy, here an official, here a funny old man. All these small random events kept me engaged for a while. Still, all in all the game starts pretty difficult (and difficult in bad way, meaning that it strains your attention and patience instead of your intelligence). I was more stressed to get all those people's documents checked than reading those fun conversations. The author's goal was to show how bad the USSR was, and he did it very well, and while playing this game I kept having this "oppressed" feeling even though I somewhat enjoyed denying entry to people (at first). Unfortunately, as a game, "Papers, please" is not entertaining. It's a clever piece of art, but not fun enough and with too simplistic mechanic to make a great game. Btw, I took the $1k bribe and a few days later neighbors found out about it and I lost. I didn't understand if this is a random event or it's inevitable. In any case, this was a very annoying ending since I had to play 3 or 4 extra days just to find out that the (unexpected) mistake I made earlier inevitably leads to a failure. Anyways, I think the author tapped on a very interesting topic here. Other games in similar style could follow. Expand
  7. Apr 12, 2014
    0
    I have a hard time understanding why gamers want stuff like this? I grew up using an IBM 486, and the graphics then were better than this, that was in the 80's. Honestly, pattern recognition and some basic choices of whether to be a traitor or not, and that sums it all up. 85/100 for this? It's time for me to find a new hobby I think. Expand

See all 210 User Reviews