On the 9th of November 2016 Warm Lamp games released their game, Beholder. The game is inspired by totalitarian stories written by the authors George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Ray Bradbury.
The games up with a black and white introduction. You learn that your characters name is Carl Stein and that you have been allocated the job as the landlord to a Class B apartment block in Krushvitze 6.
The screen changes, revealing that the former landlord is being beaten by two uniformed officers. Once more the screen changes back to you and reveals that you have a wife, teenage son, and a young daughter. The narrator is telling you that during a medical examination, you were given an injection that will suppress your need for sleep and that it will help you serve your motherland. You and your family finally arrive at your new home just in time to see the former landlord being lead from the building in cuffs.
The introduction ends and you are in your flat with your boss who informs you of what is expected of you. He states that you are there to spy on your tenants, keep the state informed on everything about them from their names, their jobs, down to their hobbies and personalities and that you should report anyone who is breaking the State's rules. It is made clear that you should not be discovered snooping, as most people believe their private lives remain... well private, and such a facade should be maintained. It is also indicated that the State shall look the other way if you need to commit a few little sins to complete your work.
A brief tutorial is given to show you how to search furniture for items and clues, how to place cameras in the fire alarms and that you should always be around to answer the phone in your office. Your boss leaves and it is time to settle in but it is not long before you are given the first task of creating a profile on one of your tenants. (I still see this as part of the tutorial, to be honest.)
Thankfully the first tenant you have to investigate is very rude and has dangerous tendencies so I felt no sadness when I reported him for using drugs and watched him be carted away by the police.
This is where the game truly begins and I feel the challenge starts. You start receiving tasks to complete and a time limit on the majority of them. Some are easy to complete and require a little thought but it soon becomes apparent that all actions have consequences and any misstep can lead to a domino effect which can take you into nothing but disaster if you are not careful.
At first, the State rules are quite normal and understandable such as doing drugs is illegal or harboring a criminal but as time passes the rules become more and more irrational. It becomes illegal to own apples, to listen to foreign music and to even read! (That law is the most criminal and insane of the laws so far.)
You can repair empty apartments and sometimes have a choice on who will be moved into them; for some of the characters you will need to complete quests and not a single one of them can truly be trusted. Slowly the storyline reveals that there is an uprising against the State and you are given quests where you have to choose whether you are going to do your duty no matter the cost (and that could be reporting your own family) or you are going to try and go against the authority and change the world as it currently stands.
The game has several achievements that can be gained but to get them all, you will have to play the game over few times and do things differently. There is also two modes of the game, Trainee and Government Elite. In the Trainee mode, the choices are easier and the money gained is more substantial compared to the Elite mode.
There are two types of currency in the game. The first is money. You are paid for every profile you make, every report made and quest completed. On the flip-side of this though, if you give misinformation you are fined and the money is automatically taken from your account. The second currency is reputation in which you can buy cameras and repair tools to keep the building in top condition.
Every NPC has their own personality, their own secrets, and no one's safe in this game. So think hard about every choice you may make. Will you work with the State or will you oppose them? Can you keep your family alive through to the end? Or will you be doomed to lose them all?