Published on December 28th, 2016 | by Zumar0
Beholder – Review
If you happened to read my article on my gamer DNA, you would know that single player games are not my jam. However since joining up with KBMOD, I have found myself open to expanding my horizons. I thought to myself, “if I am not playing with friends, what is the next attribute of a game that makes it enjoyable for you?” That answer without a doubt is the Story.
Enter Beholder, from Warm Lamp Games, a “choose your own adventure” style game. I was a little skeptical, at first, as I have never played this style of game, but shortly after starting I was immersed. You play a state selected building manager tasked with spying on your tenants for the state. You must snoop, spy, and interact with your tenants in order to gather information to determine whether they are violating state directives or not.
Movement is pretty intuitive once you get used to it. You use the mouse to move your character and the WASD keys to navigate the camera. For the most part movement is pretty smooth, however there are moments where I find myself clicking on an area and the character does not move.
The ambience, music, and overall graphic design is right on point. The setting seems to always be that hour just between day time and night. It’s dark, but not so dark you can’t see.
“See, Hun? Not creepy at all!
The music is quiet an eerie, and picks up when things are about to get intense. Most impressive, to me, is the character design. Even though they lack any real features, they are somehow very expressive. Whether it is through thought bubbles, body language, or the shapes of their eyes, you always know their state of mind.
Now onto the meat and potatoes of what the Beholder is about: the story and the gameplay. The story starts with your character, Carl, being pretty confused as to what is happening, as he reads a letter from the state. You and your family were plucked from whatever life they were living before, and forced to become a building manager for a state owned apartment building. You are being given an apartment on the “first floor,” but they really mean basement. As you enter the building you cross paths with the old building manager, badly beaten and being escorted out by the state officers, a clear message from the state to you and your family. All of these lead to confusion and panic in our main character. The opening scene sets the tone for the game, you are clearly not just a state loyalist that has to follow every order, unless you choose to.
The developers do provide some guidance, and lead you down the path to be an obedient member of the state, but then quickly introduce opportunities to rebel. The choices are tough, and have serious consequences. Do I report the sweet old lady for crying in public, because it is a clear violation of a state directive? Well if I don’t, I could get fired, so sorry, Gam Gam, you’re headed to the clink. Oh, what’s this? A package I decided not to deliver? STABBED. It is left up to you to be the character you want to play, but every path has its challenges. There were several times where I had to remind myself that I’m not a bad person, I am just playing a character, which speaks to the immersion of the game.
Do I pay attention to my family like the quest says? or do I bust that filthy criminal in apartment 3 for singing in public?
When it comes to gameplay, Beholder makes it pretty easy to stay on track, you have a quest list on the screen at all times to remind you what you are supposed to do. However, at times I felt myself getting overloaded with quests, and not knowing where to start. In addition to this new state directives keep piling up for you to keep an eye out for when you’re snooping. I then needed to remind myself that you eat an elephant one bite at a time. If this stresses you out, there is another game mode, Trainee, that reduce costs and increase income and may put your mind at ease, a little.
It may be because I am nebby (or for those outside of Pittsburgh, Nosey), but I found great joy in just spying on people, even if it wasn’t part of a quest. The story is dynamic and it flows nicely, when I looked at my time played, I couldn’t believe it had been that long. These are all signs of a good game. Kudos to Warm Lamp Games for not making me crawl back into my warm, safe hole of multi-player games.
Overall, I feel like Beholder was a great introduction into this genre for me. If you are a fan of the “choose your own adventure” genre, or are looking for a game to get your feet wet, I would highly recommend Beholder.
Beholder is currently available on Steam.
Great For Those Who Are Nosey
Summary: Kudos to Warm Lamp Games for not making me crawl back into my warm, safe hole of multi-player games