This is Beholder by Warm Lamp Games. You play as Carl. Carl is the new landlord that takes on the role of spying, eavesdropping and peeping on his tenants. Why you ask?
FOR THE MOTHALAAAAND!
You’re a spy for this totalitarian government, hellbent on watching every bit of its citizens’ lives. But it doesn’t have to be all fires and brimstone. You can change. You can actually choose how you want to be. Do you really want to spy for the Motherland or do you want to be a better example to your family? You decide.
Freedom isn’t free in this dystopian nightmare however, and spying will net you quite a bit of Coin and Reputation. Even if that means watching someone take a shower, go to the fridge or do some drugs. No seriously.
Laws are oppressive. Surveillance is total. Privacy is dead. In order to please the Motherland, you’re to bug, peep, search, spy and eavesdrop on your tenants. You’ve a wide variety of tenants, ranging from a single person like Skeezy or a family. Each apartment becomes progressively more difficult as you unlock new spaces, progressing through the game. Apartments can be unlocked by purchasing them as the money begins to flow.
In order to spy or install cameras, you have to use your shiny skeleton key to let yourself in. But ONLY when the tenant isn’t home can this be done. Make sure you keep an eye on the bus and other tenants. The bus comes to and fro, picking up and dropping off various tenants. Be wary of this because you could be searching an apartment and a tenant may hop off the bus!
Controls are simple. Using your mouse, you point and click on things of interest. Things to interact with glow and clicking on them yields options you can choose from. Clicking on a spot or person sends Carl waddling in that direction. Double click on an area and he scoots along faster. Just in case Ol’ Man Jenkins is on his way home and you’re raiding his place.
You have a menu, well a file actually, that has everything you need to know about everyone. It will contain your evidence collected, tenant data, mission objectives and messages. This will be your main go-to when anything goes down and when The Man calls upon you to do his bidding and the rewards you’ll receive.
The tabs in order are:
- Duty Tasks – Where you get briefing info on the task at hand and how to complete them and rewards received when tasks are completed
- Profile – This tab tells you all you need to know about all the tenants, even your own family. Clicking on the portrait brings up a ‘file’ on them. This file gives you a short bio on the person, a list of anything you find while searching their apartment, and illegal things you found while spying on them or evidence.
- Government Directives – This tab tells you all the current laws in effect or new ones that crop up. Use this tab to find out what’s illegal and to choose whether or not to write up a report on someone for violating the law if you’ve found propaganda in their apartment or caught them via spying.
- Prohibited – This tab tells you what items are punishable for which laws. There’s Arrest and Fine. Any items in either category is punishable by the applicable laws. Keep this in mind if you choose to poke around your tenants things.
- Messages – These are where messages received/sent are stored.
The game also has a clock , fast forward and play/pause in the upper left corner. This will enable you to keep tabs on what times your tenants come and go, giving you the opportunity to search there place and add cameras etc without getting caught.
On the right are the store, your money and your reputation. Store allows you to buy equipment to commit your dastardly deeds if you choose to follow through. You money is what you gain by completing various tasks. Your reputation represents the Government and how much of an asset you are to them. In other words, be a good sheep and spy and you’ll be rewarded with higher reputation. The higher your reputation, the better chances you have of getting away with crimes you may or may not commit.
The art is beautifully done and showcases a city in a state of despair. It’s doom and gloom are notable in the buildings state of disrepair. The faceless, black entities that occupy the space are also unsettling. In a way, them being faceless fits the theme. An oppressive government bent on control where its people no longer matter. Only their actions do.
The music fits this somber often gritty game where your choices may or may not be the end of your livelihood. It’s deep and foreboding, inciting a fear of the unknown, a fear of your own government watching you watch them.
The demo is quite fun and there’s still a lot for me to explore. Be sure to check out Beholder this Fall on Steam.
Stay in the Know, Gamers~