A game about the life of a small person with great responsibility. Keep track of tenants, write denunciations and follow government orders.
The pages of Mobile-Review rarely talk about games, but there are examples that need to be told to everyone. One of these games for me was Beholder. She is far from new, in 2016, but I only met her recently, and I want more people to know about her.
This game tells us about the life of an ordinary house manager in a totalitarian state – in the best traditions of Zamyatin's 'We', Orwell's '1984' and other dystopias. But if in such books we can only follow the storyline of the main character who goes against the system, then in the game Beholder there is always a choice.
Run the house, follow directions and write denunciations
The game begins with the fact that you are given a communal house under your control. The tasks of the manager include not only cleaning the premises and minor repairs, but also spying on the residents and collecting dossiers, because the action takes place in a totalitarian state. In the manager's room there is a special telephone, through which people from the government contact him and give instructions – they are the most interesting.
The government may demand to evict a tenant who speaks badly about the state and the ruler. This can be done in many ways – to throw a 'ban' into his house, to follow him and see illegal actions, or to find out important information in a conversation. But all this is not necessary. If you play a positive character, then the resident can be warned of suspicion from the government so that he can do something.
At the same time, other residents and family members can ask the manager for help – to help prepare the escape from the country for a 'thought criminal', find rare goods from a local merchant or a girl for a lonely tenant. At the same time, many requests from other characters may be illegal, thus the whole game goes on – constantly walking along the edge. If you do not help your daughter in time and do not find imported medicines, she may die, but there may not be enough money for them, so you will have to steal, blackmail or do something else vile.
Big Brother is watching
Money can be earned for denunciations and filing, for this you need to constantly monitor the actions of all residents and for new directives from the government. For example, a day ago it was possible to keep green apples at home and play the balalaika, and the next day it will become a crime for which they can plant. There are three ways to track people: install surveillance cameras in rooms, peep through the keyhole of a door, or rummage through things while no one is at home, because the manager has the keys to each apartment.
The manager in the game acts as the arbiter of destinies. One call can wipe out a family man and a good person from the face of the earth, because 'they' decided so. It is impossible not to fulfill the tasks of the government; every wrong action is fraught with a fine. Not picking up the phone on time – a fine, not collecting the necessary evidence for a criminal case – a fine, and for more serious offenses you can go to jail or die yourself. At the same time, the government often requires you to do really scary things that make you creepy. For example, in an add-on to the Beholder game called 'Blessed Sleep', the government will issue a decree according to which all residents over the age of 85 are forcibly sent to euthanasia (essentially death) in order to allow the young to live.
At the same time, there are underground resistance forces in the game. They, too, will ask for help, and their methods of fighting the government are no less brutal. The rebels may even issue an ultimatum – endangering the lives of all residents or helping to kill one person associated with the government.
The good thing about Beholder is that this game doesn't have the right path. You can write denunciations against each and every government, set up, blackmail tenants. There is still an opportunity to be a good guy and help the tenants, but the game will not allow you to do this always, at some stage you will have to face a difficult choice. And the ending will depend on each action.
The technical side
The game has a great visual style – everything is dark and depressing, just to create an atmosphere of hopelessness. You need to be prepared for the fact that the dialogues are not voiced and you will have to read the subtitles, but there is not much text.
I played the game on a 5.2-inch smartphone, and overall the controls are comfortable, but a little shallow. If you have a smartphone with a larger screen, or even better a tablet, then there will be no problems in the process.
And here we come to a scrupulous moment – the game Beholder is paid. It costs 199 rubles on Google Play, and 379 rubles on the App Store. Let everyone decide for themselves whether it is expensive for a mobile game. If psychologically this is too high a bar, then I recommend taking the game on Steam for 239 rubles for a computer, where the control is more convenient and everything looks better. If the text did not convince you to buy the game, then try downloading the demo version with several tasks, but it is available only for Android.
The game also has a paid add-on 'Blissful Dream', the plot of which I liked even more than the main part.
Beholder belongs to a rare part of games that will never become popular, but which leave a vivid mark in the memory. There are few such games, they need to be appreciated and told to others. For me, the game paid off every ruble for the first playthrough, and the variability allows you to play it more than 5 times and each time get a different story and ending.
I invite readers in the comments to tell about other games that have been remembered recently.