Developer: Warm Lamp Games
Publisher: Alawar Entertainment
Platforms: PC, Mac
Tested on: PC
Beholder – Review
Beholder takes place in a grim dystopian future. You live in a totalitarian state that controls everyone and everything, with no means of privacy. A landlord in an apartment building was recently arrested since he didn’t uphold the law, so now you’ve been assigned as the new landlord. Spy on your tenants, profile their actions and report any illegal activity.
In Beholder, you play as Carl Stein. You live in a totalitarian state and have been appointed as the new landlord of a Class D apartment. Your job is to go there and start work as quick as you can, and “enjoy” your life in the elite class. You’ll have to covertly watch your tenants and spy on their conversations in order to uphold the law. Any attempt you make to not uphold the law will result in you being arrested.
The main story line in Beholder is quite simple, but there is lots of backstory to find out about your tenants when you eavesdrop on them or when they give you tasks. Overall it’s a quite nice mix of story and gameplay, and you can always choose to ignore most of the dialog anyway if you wish to do so.
When looking at graphics, Beholder actually looks pretty cool. It has a pretty unique art style, but it looks great while doing so. The lighting is spot on and the characters also look pretty cool (just black and white). There are also some cutscenes in the game which look simply awesome. All in all, the graphics aspect of Beholder is great, even if it doesn’t have the latest and greatest realistic graphics (which isn’t needed in a game like this anyway).
The sound effects in Beholder are fairly modest, but they’re good nonetheless. For some things you’d expect a sound effect here and there, but instead of that there’s something very modest or nothing at all, but it’s not very disturbing and most people won’t notice it. The music however is pretty good. It creates a good atmosphere since the game is kind of grim from start to finish.
Beholder can be seen as a strategy/simulation game, where you’re a landlord of an apartment and have to manage it. However, you don’t have to manage it like the Sims games for example, but your job consists of upholding the law, spying on your tenants and reporting them if it’s needed. The game is played with the mouse, although you can move the camera around with some keyboard shortcuts.
In order to keep track of all your tenants, the game features quite a good journal which showcases all of your tasks, your tenants and their interest/laws they broke, government laws and a messages tab. These tabs are vital to keep an eye on as they are vital for your progression through the game.
To make spying on your tenants easier, you can install cameras inside the apartments or you can peek through the lock. Having visual on your tenants will sometimes give you the opportunity to find out their interests or you can watch them break the law. You can also get into their apartment when they’re not home and search through their stuff, which can sometimes have very good benefits, if you don’t get caught…
Finding out interests of your tenants will allow you to profile them for the government. The more things you find out about them and report about, the bigger the reward. If you see them doing illegal stuff however, you can ask the police to come by and arrest them. It’s also possible to blackmail them for money, but this can have severe consequences if the government finds out…
Something that makes your life even harder as a landlord is tasks. Your tenants or your family will occasionally give you tasks to complete which can be a variety of objectives. Sometimes you have to get your wife a radio, or pay for your son to go to another country, aid your daughter because she’s sick and many, many more. Some tasks are also timed though, so if you have a timed task which requires you to pay a lot of money, you might have to take desperate measures in order to get that money, like stealing from your tenants and hope they don’t find out it was you who stole their stuff.
Some random events can also occur like disasters, which will require you to repair the apartments and find new tenants to move in. You also have to find new tenants whenever the old ones leave or get arrested. Furniture can also break, and it’s your job as a landlord to fix them. All in all, there’s a lot of micro managing to do, which makes Beholder kind of a strategy game, since every decision you make has consequences.
After playing the game and getting in jail for not reporting something, Beholder turned out to be extremely fun. There’s never a boring moment int he game as you have lots of stuff to do and lots of tenants to spy on. Most of the time, the timed tasks you get are extremely hard to complete as there’s so much stuff going on, so you have to make very quick decisions in order to keep a cool head.