Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. Aug 12, 2013
    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 12, 2013
    The variety and attention to detail in a game about repetition is quite incredible. At times decisions you make will even influence future gameplay.
  3. Oct 14, 2013
    An incredibly impressive little game, from its understated old-school art style to its ability to make you feel uncomfortable with how much you enjoy catching criminals trying to trick their way into your country.
  4. Sep 24, 2013
    Papers, Please is a unique passport stamping simulation game. It becomes surprisingly entertaining because of its gameplay variability and its unusual commentary about an individual working for a totalitarian regime. Bravo.
  5. Sep 5, 2013
    With a deluge of big-budget, high-profile games on the horizon, it might be easy to overlook a quiet, unusual game like Papers, Please. But don't do that, comrade. The consequences would be dire.
  6. Aug 31, 2013
    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.
  7. Aug 28, 2013
    It’s a game everyone should be thrilled exists in a vibrant and daring independent scene, tapping a reservoir of fascinating themes and content that mainstream games dare not touch.
  8. Aug 21, 2013
    Games have mastered action – the amplified and instant reward – but Papers, Please finds satisfaction in the tedium of bureaucracy, and twins it with genuinely human stories and an underlying, dread-filled tension. It’s rare to play a game about something, about a time, a place and a theme, and for a game to embody those ideas from meaning right down to mechanics.
  9. Aug 19, 2013
    Papers, Please is yet another demonstration that indie titles are what appears to be a virtually unlimited reservoir of original ideas. Charming, sometimes even touching, this game will make you think.
  10. Aug 15, 2013
    Papers, Please is a lean game that knows exactly what it wants to do, and does it with more style and confidence than one could reasonably expect.
  11. Aug 14, 2013
    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.
  12. Aug 13, 2013
    Papers, please deserves to be shown in the schools and to all those believing to have strong morals. Amazing.
  13. Aug 12, 2013
    One of this year's best indie games, one that will surprise you with your decisions. Are you really as kind and compassionate as you think?
  14. Aug 12, 2013
    Papers, Please is a really unique experience. Given the price, it's definitely a must-have if you want to try a game that's funny in a way different from the usual one.
  15. Aug 9, 2013
    With its oppressive 16-bit visuals and stomping Eastern Bloc soundtrack - all ominous parps, sinister trills and garbled Tannoy announcements - Papers, Please feels a lot like an interactive anxiety attack. It's hard to call such a nerve-shredding experience "fun", but it is absorbing, brilliantly written and causes you to question your every instinct and reaction - both in the game and in real life.
  16. Pelit (Finland)
    Oct 5, 2013
    Papers, Please is not only original but fun, too. More papers, please! [Sept 2013]
  17. Aug 14, 2013
    This is an 8-bit-masterpiece, an atmospheric border patrol dystopia, filled with loads of decisions and tough consequences.
  18. Aug 12, 2013
    A fantastic idea, beautifully executed.
  19. Aug 8, 2013
    An original and pleasantly demanding puzzle-style game that leaves you wanting slightly more and slightly more variety.
  20. Jan 2, 2014
    Papers, Please gives you a simple task that doesn't ask a lot of you. The game outgrows its mechanics though, by appealing to your moral compass and emotions. This indie game will get under your skin, will have you feeling uncomfortable and have you think about yourself, as a person.
  21. Sep 9, 2013
    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.
  22. Aug 27, 2013
    Papers, Please is a real pearl of independent development, a must for those who appreciate courage and inventiveness.
  23. Aug 18, 2013
    The satisfaction that comes with surviving a shift with a few extra bucks is remarkable, and is made possible by the oppressive mood that developer Lucas Pope has crafted. I also walked away with a slightly different perspective on real-world international strife, which is well worth the grind.
  24. Sep 2, 2013
    Papers, Please is interesting enough to try on its unique base alone, but it's not only the special concept of playing as a customs employee that makes it worth it. Looking for falsified papers, stamping documents and the necessary ethical dilemmas make Papers, Please a game like no other. Glory to Arstotzka!
  25. Aug 21, 2013
    Papers, Please is a game about beating the system. Or subverting the system. Or submitting to the system. Or maybe ignoring the system. In any approach, it forces the player to consider conflict as a multifaceted condition tied to its narrative and design, and it doesn't much care if you judge its sum-total as traditionally fun. Papers, Please has something to say, and it makes it very clear at almost every instance.
  26. Oct 3, 2013
    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.
  27. Oct 1, 2013
    A very interesting piece of software that really has something to say. But beware: if you judge it only in terms of gameplay and pure fun, it can result in pretty boring time.
  28. PC PowerPlay
    Sep 25, 2013
    As much as it can wear you out, Papers, Please is a game to reflect upon and cherish. [Oct 2013, p.90]
  29. Sep 24, 2013
    It’s a fascinating experience and one of the stranger topics for a video game.
  30. Sep 19, 2013
    This is an unforgettable trip into the horrifying world of bureaucracy.
  31. Sep 18, 2013
    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.
  32. Sep 17, 2013
    It shouldn't be fun to be a small cog wheel in a huge dictatorial gear box but it's fun to find out where your personal limits are, where the fun ends and when it's time for reflection.
  33. Sep 10, 2013
    Papers, Please manages to be both unique and creative. Often times thoughtful, stressful and comical it creates a thick atmosphere with both story and gameplay. Easily one of the best downloadable games of 2013.
  34. Aug 13, 2013
    Papers, Please will stress you out. At times it may even make you hate yourself. And while it's weird to call such an experience "enjoyable," the gameplay itself is not a miserable time. It's worthwhile for the same reasons a depressing novel or a bleak movie can be worthwhile.
  35. Aug 12, 2013
    The concept may sound absurd but the experience of playing Papers, Please shines a light not on the game’s hapless victims but on the player’s own sense of decency.
  36. Aug 9, 2013
    A meaningful exercise in misery.
  37. Aug 8, 2013
    Put simply, Papers, Please is a refreshingly unique game that deserves your attention.
  38. CD-Action
    Aug 28, 2013
    The game’s topic, visuals and gameplay mechanics might seem off-putting, but Papers, Please is a must-play for everyone who values games with a message or indie games in general. [CD-Action 10/2013, p.61]
  39. Aug 12, 2013
    It's quite hard to consider this a "game", and it rather feels like an interactive documentary. In any case, we think it's something necessary and worth checking out.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1291 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Aug 8, 2013
    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 manyThis 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. Full Review »
  2. Aug 8, 2013
    One of the best games of recent years. It has become one of my favorite and most memorable games of all time right beside games like Baldur'sOne of the best games of recent years. It has become one of my favorite and most memorable games of all time right beside games like Baldur's Gate 2 and the Half Life series. It is an extremely bleak and depressing game that really makes you appreciate everything. The sound is great and I will never forget the sound of the horn. The gameplay is very simple but detail oriented. At first glance it seems quite boring but the stakes are so high that you try to counterbalance speed and thoroughness in order to make it to the next day. It is one of the few games I have ever played that I would consider a masterpiece and possibly even art. It is enthralling and it sucks you in in a way that no other game really does. If you want a unique experience give it a shot and see if it grabs you because it is unlike everything else on the market now or that I can remember. Full Review »
  3. Sep 29, 2013
    Based on the positive reviews and score this game has received on Metacritic, I gave PP a try. I was utterly disappointed. The gameplay isBased on the positive reviews and score this game has received on Metacritic, I gave PP a try. I was utterly disappointed. The gameplay is entirely based around being presented with information and then having to verify that the information matches criteria specified at the start of each day. A typical early scenario would involve being handed an ID card and a work permit. You would have to check the following information; same ID/name on both papers, dates are correct, photo on ID matches the person handing it to you. After that, check the immigration rules for the day make sure people are allowed to enter from that country. And that is it all you do is pattern match. If that sounds like fun, give it a try. If your brain isn't wired to find pattern-matching fun, avoid like the plague. Full Review »