In a world where an authoritarian State controls all aspects of the life of its citizens with iron fist, you play as the never-sleeping Carl, a State-installed manager of an apartment building with one task: to keep its occupants under constant surveillance, reporting any suspicious activities to your superiors. To achieve it, you will bug their apartments, search their belongings for anything that can, somehow, threaten the stability of the government and profile every individual, reporting to the authorities any strange behaviors. But how far will you go to protect the State when your family is at stake, in a world where right or wrong is just a matter of perspective?
- It’s hard to define in what gender of game this little pearl from Warm Lamp Games fits, but I’ll call it strategy to tell you about its gameplay. In Beholder you will put the renters of the building under constant surveillance. Whenever the people who lives in one of the apartments is out for work, you have an opportunity to investigate their lives and plant bugs in their homes. These bugs have surveillance cameras that can record suspicious activities. With this information at hand, you can profile your neighbors or even blackmail them. But to do or not to do it is all up to you. If you support your government policies, you can use the force of the law at all times. If you believe the State is pushing to hard, you can opt to turn a blind eye or even help them. Every choice you make has a consequence and every consequence takes you to one of many conclusions. This is simply amazing!
- Accomplishing tasks for your neighbors and for the government gives you some cash and respect. With respect, you can buy cameras in the State store or use it to convince people to do what you want them to do. With cash, you can buy food, clothes, medicines, pay your bills and renovate an apartment, making it available for rent. You must always keep cash incoming to be able to administrate the building and your family’s life.
- Warm Lamp did a fantastic job creating an absorbing atmosphere. With well-designed 2.5D scenarios and 2D characters and great music, you have a noir-feeling that resembles classics like Limbo and fulfills its purpose with mastery! Even small details in the gameplay like the mumbling of characters talking are very enjoyable, demonstrating how much attention and effort the developer put into this game.
- Every character has a story and you’ll want to uncover it. What they do for a living, where they came from and what they’re up to are some of the questions that you’ll wonder all the times. You can try the polite approach or the watchman approach: it’s always up to you. Even your family has a story worth checking, since they live under the same regulation as the others. To discover and understand everyone’s story is something very compelling during your gameplay.
- This complete edition comes with the DLC available for the PC version of the game. And I love when we got the complete version really have everything the game has to offer.
- As the building gets more and more crowded, there’s going to be so many things happening at the same time that you may end up loosing track of your tasks and miss some important information. It’s a nice idea, forcing you to give priority to some tasks and errands over others. But I really would like to have more time to check on everything before the occupants return home. Maybe pausing the game while you’re profiling them would help.
- Some may complain about the game’s pace. Sometimes, when I had no tasks to fulfill, the time really seemed to slow down. In others, there’s so many things to do that you’ll be rushing between floors to accomplish all your tasks before time runs out (remember some of them are cases of life or death – your included!). I actually liked these ups and downs, which makes the gameplay very dynamic. Like in real life, although every day is a new day, sometimes you’ll feel there’s nothing truly new about them.
- Something that messed up with my gameplay constantly was to get stuck behind tables and chairs and desks in the scenario. Especially when you’re trying to reach the telephone in your apartment or getting out someone’s apartment before he or she enters. And so many times I was caught by them because of it.
[Score: 9.0/10] If you like narrative focused games with great weight over your choices and consequences, you’re going to love Beholder Complete Edition! It questions your priorities (family or work) and concepts of right and wrong with a no-turning-back style like few I’ve seen before. Every time I hit the game over screen, I was ready to start it all over again, changing my choices to see a different ending. And I haven’t yet been able to save everyone I want, what will make me coming back to this game until I can do so. Beholder is fun, compelling and addictive like few games I’ve seen in this last couple years. If you’re looking for a different experience, try this one. You won’t regret it.
Dev: Warm Lamp Games Publisher: Curve Digital
Played on: Xbox One | LifeisXbox received a digital Preview code, provided by Curve Digital.
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.