The above words are used to describe the game Papers, Please by Lucas Pope. This game is currently in beta mode and I cannot wait for the full version release.
In Papers, Please, you have "won" the labor lottery and now have to work as border control for the fictional Communist country of Arstotzka. It is your job to allow people entry into the country for meager wages to support your family of 5.
With ever changing immigration laws and your pay being based on each person seen, you have to try to get through as many people as possible without making any mistakes. Each mistake made (after an inital "learning" period) docks your pay and that's not good when your wife is dying from illness and cold (general consensus seems to be to let the mother-in-law die).
While Papers, Please isn't the hardest of games, it certainly does become a challenge to keep processing people quickly while keeping mistakes to a minimum. At the end of the beta, there were over half a dozen different things to check and with each case being different, it can be super easy to let people through that you shouldn't. On at least one occasion, I let through a man when their passport clearly said that they should be a woman.
The full version of the game is said to have 30+ days, taking on a Don't Starve type gameplay where the goal is to see how many days you and your family can survive.
The graphics are bleak and the soundtrack is catchy but repetitive, letting the gameplay be the main focus of Papers, Please.
When this game first popped up on Steam Greenlight, I had my doubts about it. But after completing the beta, I found myself wishing that it wasn't so short!
With a rumored price tag of $10 USD and a release date of Summer 2013, this is a game I can't wait to own.
Steam Greenlight: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=138290904&searchtext=Papers%2C+Please
I enjoyed Helsing's Fire on iOS, which Pope made, and just tried his Ludem Dare 23 entry, 6 Degrees of Sabotage, which is also quite fun. Papers, Please has a weird premise for a game, but could be fun, or at least educational, I suppose. I think it's interesting that we are getting games these days about strange things like immigration management and struggling cart vendors (Cart Life). People say they are really into Cart Life, but it stresses me out a little too much. Less in a Super Meat Boy kind of way, and more in a "Shit, I have no money to pay rent" kind of way. Isn't there another game coming out soon called Riot, which hinges around inciting riots vs mob control? Are these the video game equivalent of film documentaries?
This game looks different. I don't mean that in a bad underhanded way, it really does look different. Sort of mixing up game with a social message that I can get behind.
Plus, it seems to pull elements from the "I just want to get this job done" mentality in that you let people through that didn't match their id, which is interesting.
Cool to see this game be Greenlit too.