Hey folks, Jesse here and I want to talk about a game I’ve been playing on PlayStation 4. It’s called Beholder and I’ve been having some fun with it and thought I’d share my thoughts on it. Beholder was developed by Warm Lamp Games and was published by Alawar Entertainment. It came out in November 2016 but it’s still worth some interest.
In Beholder, you play Carl, the land landlord of an apartment building. The game world takes place in a totalitarian state and you have been assigned the apartment by the government. The Ministry (as it’s called) has asked you to watch over the building and report any suspicious anti-Ministry things going on in the apartment building. This means you have to spy on your tenants and report back any wrongdoing that occurs. There are consequences that come if you get caught spying and it’s easy to start losing the trust of everyone in the building. It is important to talk to people as they go about their daily lives to gather new information you can use to further your standing with the government officials.
The game’s style is much like a cartoon. It’s in black and white which adds to a certain bleakness that is present in the game. In a totalitarian society, we don’t often side with the oppressors but that is what this game makes us do. It hard making the choice to turn in a perfectly nice neighbor who happens to read a banned philosophy book. Certain experiences play out where you have to turn in a tenant who may have helped you get medicine for your daughter. You decide what you tell the Ministry, but there are penalties for not finding and reporting crimes against the Ministry. These consequences will affect your family who has moved in with you. You also have to find time to keep them happy, well adjusted, and comfortable.
It’s a strategy game mostly and it can get pretty intense, especially when sneaking around the tenant’s homes while they are out. They get pretty mad when they catch you snooping. This makes things harder for you overall as you progress trying to get them arrested for their harmless, victimless crimes. There is a shop to buy cameras to install and you even have to spend time on the upkeep of the building. You are the landlord after all and keeping everyone happy is also one of your responsibilities.
I also quite like the soundtrack. It has some great music that matches the tone of the game and sometimes brings to mind Russian folk music. There is no dialogue spoken and when the characters do make noise it is that weird, muffled and inaudible sound that is followed by dialogue that you read. I enjoyed reading the dialogue versus having it performed. It added to the overall feel of the game.
I decided not to take it easy on the tenants. I wanted everyone to pay dearly for their crimes. Normally, I might be a little more lenient but I wanted to try to follow the games lead and join up with the police state. I wanted to be a ruthless landlord bent on serving the Ministry! Of course, I also wanted to be making all kinds of money for my efforts.
Since this is the complete edition I should mention the DLC “Blissful Sleep”. “Blissful Sleep” is a prequel to the base game. It switches to the previous landlord of the building, Hector Medina. It starts with Hector’s birthday. The Ministry mistakes Hector’s birthday for his 85th, which is, unfortunately, the age that citizen must report to the “Ministry of Euthanasia” for “Blissful Sleep”. So… Hector has the added problem of finding a way to convince the infallible Ministry that’s they made a mistake and that it’s not the time for him to be permanently retired.
Otherwise, the game is about the same. You still have to pay attention to the tenants and report them for their deeds. I found it slightly easier than the base game even though I was racing the clock to avoid being euthanized. Hector has a cat instead of a whole family to make happy so it’s a lot easier not have to worry about them and focus on other issues. It’s was pretty fun but not much really changed gameplay wise and was basically the same game with a different long-term mission.
Beholder Final Thoughts
It’s a fun a game overall and I haven’t played a clever strategy game in a while. This was a different take on what objectives a game can have. I found it to be an entertaining turn to be the in the evil empire role. These missions are timed so you only have so long to figure out what you are going to do next. This added quite a sense of urgency that made the game go at a quicker pace.
Check this game out if you get the chance. This game is a great break from the loot chasing shooters that are everywhere these days. You can sit back and oppress perfectly fine people from the comfort of your couch and not feel bad. Well, maybe a little bad. So just remember “Big Brother is Watching You”, so be grateful I don’t start watching you next.