A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Papers, Please simulates working as an immigration inspector on the border of a fictitious communist nation. Players analyze people's immigration documents, look for potential problems, interrogate applicants, and decide whether to let them in the country or keep them out of it. There are mature themes that force the player to make difficult ethical decisions that can have drastic consequences on the player's character or the people he/she is investigating, including arrest, poverty, violence, and death. Parents need to know that Papers, Please depicts communism in a particularly bleak and brutal manner.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
PAPERS, PLEASE is a simulation game that puts the player in the role of an immigration officer for the fictional communist nation of Arstotska. The player decides who gets in and who stays out. The plot evolves around developing political events, terrorist activity (including attacks), an antigovernment radical group, and mini stories involving potential immigrants or visitors. Whereas one player might deny a particular potential immigrant, another player (or the first player on a second run through the game) might approve the same potential immigrant. With 20 potential endings, the player's decisions and ability to work fast and correctly will greatly impact the story's outcome.
Is it any good?
Before approving or denying a potential entrant, the player has to check an ever-increasing number of documents. Each day adds more things to be aware of, and they get harder to keep track of and manage. Players need to be efficient as things get more complicated and hectic, which encourages slower play. But getting more money for more people correctly approved or denied encourages faster play. It's a tightrope walk.
Papers, Please is a very simple but unique game: part simulation, part puzzle, part time-management, part commentary. Players encounter many ethical quandaries that force can't-do-good-by-everyone decisions, and upsetting people is unavoidable. Although the "easy" option makes the game more forgiving, it remains tough. Papers, Please is a particular breed of game that may require a particular breed of player. For some, obsessively fact checking and pouring over virtual documents will be particularly engaging, but, for others, the grind of each day may prove too hard.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: Mac, Windows
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading, text analysis, using supporting evidence
Social Studies: citizenship, cultural understanding, government, power structures
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, decision-making, investigation
Responsibility & Ethics: following codes of conduct, learning from consequences, making wise decisions, respect for others
- Price: $9.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: 3909
- Release date: August 8, 2013
- Genre: Simulation
- ESRB rating: NR
For kids who love sims and games about politics
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.