Papers, please – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle, Simulation
Developer: Lucas Pope
Publisher: 3909
Platform: PC

Papers, please – Review

Site Score
Good: Strategy, Loads of choices, Glory to Arstotzka!
Bad: Voice acting would have been a plus
User Score
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)

‘’Papers, please’’, probably the two most annoying words people tend to hear nowadays, be it on vacation, a routine police check-up or just when doing something outside of your everyday life. Combine these two words with the atmosphere of Russia in the eighties and an actual customs administration point, you will create a game with the same name.



You, a random inhabitant of Arstotzka have been selected by the labor lottery to get a fun job at your local custom administration point. The pay is awful and you’ll be constantly tapped on your fingers if you do something wrong or if you get distracted just slightly, but then again this might be the first time in your life you’ve actually won something. (Hooray)

The game will pretty much revolve around in creating a stricter border control for Arstotzka, your home country. You will be in charge of checking up on all applicants who wish to enter and you will have to make the necessary choices to either accept people for entry or simply deny them. This might sound quite unappealing or simple but Papers, please proves otherwise. You will be presented with loads of choices that will, in turn, present you with one of twenty endings the games has to offer. Having a family to support with the low pay check that comes with the job will create an attachment to the game that not that many games are able to nowadays.

In the spirit of not spoiling too much, be prepared for applicants with forgeries, weird sex changes and even those who do not support the theory of ‘Glory to Arstotzka!’.



Papers, please presents you with a retro look that seems to be a little gritty and if not ‘dirty’ around the edges. It is clear this was the designer his intention from the start to simply add up to the game’s atmosphere. Every inhabitant seems to look like a stereotypical civilian of a certain country (wink wink, nudge nudge) and this will only create a more realistic look, whilst using very unrealistic graphics.

Glory to Arstotzka!


Whilst the overall music is simple, it contributes to the overall atmosphere of the game. It uses stereotypical music to create its own blast from the past. The sound effects nonetheless are probably the only thing that feel as if more effort would have actually been very nice. The people you’re checking only give you a mumbling sound when talking and other effects are fairly basic as well.

Glory to Arstotzka!



Papers, please is pretty much a simulation game that doesn’t take itself all that seriously. You will be the officer that checks all the papers of those who wish the enter Arstotzka and you determine who is viable for entry and who isn’t. Of course all of this depends on if they have the right credentials and if you are easily swayed by those who beg you to enter and plenty of other factors.

The overall mechanics of the game are fairly simple. You have your own desk on which you drag the papers that need verification. At the beginning of the game these tasks will be fairly simple, but during one of your many playthroughs you will receive more and more attention points to focus on. These will consist out of extra documents to check, nationalities to check, wanted criminal lists to keep your eye on, and so on.

All of the previously mentioned factors to keep your eye on will present you with an array of possibilities. Are you one that is loyal to your country or will you assist in letting dangerous people enter? Do you feel like acting like the good Samaritan or do you wish to earn some extra cash by throwing people in jail, who only have slight misconducts concerning their papers? Once again all these choices will have an impact on the quality of life of those who depend on you. If you’re out for money, they will probably lead a better life, if you don’t get caught. If you’re the noble one and truly believe in the ‘Glory to Arstotska’ motto you will probably have a tougher life but no regrets. You could have guessed it, but in the end all of those things combined will determine which of the 20 endings you will get for your playthrough.


Family is an important factor in Papers, please. Your family depends on how you do your job and you will have expenses at the end of each day. Heat, food and medicine will not come that cheaply and medicine expenses will come swiftly if you can’t pay the bills for those first two. If you add up costs for upgrading your booth to do your work a lot more swiftly, choices will have to be made.

Upgrading your booth is actually a very simple feature that turns out to be extremely helpful in managing your administration checkpoint. In the end all these upgrades are needed for are unlocking several hotkeys. Instead of having to click every button you will be able to press the shortcut on your keyboard and then it’s smooth sailing all the way.

Papers, please has a save state for each of the days you have completed. If you feel like replaying that day and make several other choices to explore several storylines the game will create a new ‘row’ in your calendar that isn’t connected to your previous save file. With this you can create an endless amount of saves and let loose your multiple in game personalities.

Glory to Arstotzka!


Papers, please a game filled with stereotypes, oddities and a gritty atmosphere proves to be one of those rare gems that appear in the gaming world nowadays. Be prepared for some hardcore paper stamping and choices to determine the glory of Arstotzka.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Papers, please - Review, 9.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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