Metascore
63

Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. Apr 3, 2016
    80
    A deceptively simple game, The Westport Independent is enjoyable, interesting, unique, and utterly immersive. I was thoroughly captivated playing it and I look forward to playing it again.
  2. Games Master UK
    Mar 19, 2016
    78
    The experience is a short one. [March 2016, p.81]
  3. Jan 22, 2016
    75
    The game is worth playing and represents a new sign that video games have the ability to deal with serious matters, including censorship and the way even small tweaks can allow the news to shift our perception of reality and influence our actions.
  4. 70
    Despite not fully realizing its great premise, The Westport Independent is a fun way to spend a few hours. It'll make you think about how influential media can be, but doesn't entirely explore its subject matter.
  5. Jan 22, 2016
    70
    The Westport Independent will leave you more aware of the media as a whole, and how editorial direction can have wide-ranging results. While the game is short, that playtime is justified since you can replay and explore different possible outcomes. The $9.99 initial price might be too high for some people's liking, but the story is certainly enjoyable for the hour or two needed to complete it.
  6. Jan 22, 2016
    67
    A cleanly executed idea falls short because of flat characterisation and a dissatisfying lack of consequence. If only real papers were this toothless.
  7. Feb 18, 2016
    65
    Journalism is far from a glamourous job, but stories that make a difference are the most gratifying part. Unfortunately, The Westport Independent never made me feel that was possible.
  8. Feb 2, 2016
    65
    It covers a fresh theme and delivers an interesting art design, but one run lasts merely 30 minutes. And the kind of similar “Papers, Please” shows more depth as well as emotional connection.
  9. Jan 28, 2016
    60
    The game does deliver scenes between levels that color some of your writers’ inner lives, but they are too minor to establish much empathy for, say, a writer disappearing by the regime’s hand in the post-game wrap up.
  10. Feb 7, 2016
    55
    Unless you’re interested in the subject matter — and, really, I was — you’d be better off spending your money elsewhere.
  11. CD-Action
    May 1, 2016
    50
    Very simple and repetitive, not much more than a game jam experiment. [04/2016, p.41]
  12. Feb 16, 2016
    50
    Because the media can (and they also do) manipulate the crowd, it is good to remember, that nothing is only black or white – and seemingly simple decisions can bring unexpected negative results. In the case of The Westport Independent the form however wins over the content, which is desperately short and shallow. It is an interesting experiment, but only an average game.
  13. Feb 7, 2016
    50
    Fun for what it is, it has an interesting premise and I really want to recommend it as there very few games like it, the only game akin to it would be Papers Please in my mind. But the length of the game and the lackluster plot as whole makes it difficult for me to recommend.
  14. Jan 23, 2016
    50
    The Westport Independent has important lessons about ethics in journalism, but the game's tendency towards caricature leaves it feeling like it just barely grazed the truth of the matter.
  15. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Mar 22, 2016
    40
    Great idea wasted by a sterile execution, which removes the most important elements of the genre – fear, uncertainty and never-ending moral issues. [Issue # 261]
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These unscored reviews do not factor into the Metascore calculation.
  1. There are so many smart ideas in here, and the concept is neat, even if obviously derivative. But the execution doesn’t hold it together, with disappointing responses to extremes, and a strangely anticlimactic progression. I feel like if this were given another six months, the game could be as interesting to play as it is in ambition. But as it is, it’s not there.
User Score
5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 5
  2. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. Apr 27, 2017
    7
    I agree with what others have said, I like the idea, but the actual gameplay could have been much better. First off, it's too short. There areI agree with what others have said, I like the idea, but the actual gameplay could have been much better. First off, it's too short. There are only 12 levels that might take 5 minutes to get through, or even less time later on when repeat articles start to show up at your desk.

    The characters' stories could use some work. Even though you only have 4 reporters at your disposal, I feel like I still barely know them, even after playing the whole game. The cutscenes in between levels could have been a good way to build their characters or comment on the player's decisions, but instead they never really discuss anything relevant to your progress.

    And speaking of progress, I never really felt that my decisions had any meaningful impact on the game. Aside from a few notes slipped onto my desk, or a staff member disappearing, the effects were fairly mild. There didn't seem to be any special events that stemmed from your editorial choices, such as disruption of delivery, or boycotts. But I did notice that some articles changed over time to reflect the effects of your choices, so credit for that.

    I wish there were more mechanics to the game. Edit articles, drag them onto the paper template, then drag the sliders for marketing, that's it? I feel like there were still many things to add: paper delivery, staff hiring, ad revenue, etc. If not, at least the current mechanics could have been more complex as time went on, like the increasing number of documents in Papers Please.

    Overall still enjoyable, but could have been much more thorough and engaging.
    Full Review »
  2. Feb 7, 2016
    2
    Good Concept, but poorly executed - lacking the punchy consequence of similar games circa papers, please. Also lacks length, with the gameGood Concept, but poorly executed - lacking the punchy consequence of similar games circa papers, please. Also lacks length, with the game lasting ~ 2hrs at the very most. Full Review »
  3. Jan 25, 2016
    8
    This game is about newspapers literally. The concept of this game is very interesting but the game itself is short. Theme of this game goingThis game is about newspapers literally. The concept of this game is very interesting but the game itself is short. Theme of this game going to make people aware how media can influence the public opinion in various causes like for elections to more sinister purposes. The game is retailed with a high price but it is very replay able. I would recommend this game to anyone one who loves more braver developers who like to try new mechanic or a new theme. This studio was creator of hit game Goat Simulator Full Review »