Organs Please arrives nearly a decade late to the party started by Papers, Please. An obvious riff on Lucas Pope’s successful immigration inspector simulation, this game takes the satirical approach even further and deals with themes that may be sensitive to some, but if the thought of incinerating, hitting with a spoon, and turning humans into canned food isn’t an issue for you, this is an interesting yet somewhat repetitive take on the dystopian society genre.
Burn Baby Burn
It’s a race against time and extinction in Organs Please, as humanity struggles with a global resource crisis. The logical thing to do in this situation is to create a massive spaceship and escape to a better place, with all the moral dilemmas that arise from such a desperate solution. You’re the manager who oversees who will board the Ark, who is incinerated into rocket fuel, and who is harvested into different body parts to fulfill some strange requests and make some money. Logic be damned, this is a grim simulation that turns out to be tamer than expected, despite the disturbing subject matter.
During your job you must welcome dozens of hopeful candidates to the Ark, each one with unique stats and affiliation. Learning who is efficient and who is disposable is a simple matter of doing the math, as the green and red bars give you a decent idea on their skills. Visitors that are deep in the red should be incinerated for fuel or sent to the factory to be turned into an assortment of organs; skilled visitors may enter the Ark or be hired as factory employees.
Every now and then you get the visit from other individuals, most of them of the shady kind. Terrorists may try to thwart the government’s plans, so you must scan them to make sure they don’t carry a bomb. Some indebted visitors need to be convinced to pay their debts with the help of a little beating with a spoon, and every so often you must refuse or allow entry to specific characters. These side-quests take your mind out of the constant stamping, but the truth is that it doesn’t bring enough variety to keep you engaged like the ultimate judge that you are designed to be.
During your workday you can always check in on the factory and let your management skills run wild, in pure Fallout Shelter style. You get to hire employees, allocate them to each facility, and deal with their personal kinks. Some of them are anti-social and want to work alone, others are sexist and don’t want to work with the opposite gender, and so on. You must also keep an eye out for payrolls and budgets at the end of the day, making money from orders that you get to pick among various offers, but you must be prepared to consider not only the monetary compensation, but the faction points as well.
Faction points essentially work as skill points, unlocking buffs of different types. It’s advised to check the orientation of each faction before making any serious decisions, as their visions differ quite a bit – from earning illegal income at the expense of your employees to getting more hands on deck, the outcome will be visible in the long run.
Unlocking new facilities will expand the types of products that you get to manufacture and convert into money, and it’s interesting to see all those small rooms function in all their cartoony sadistic glory. This is the only part where Organs Please shows its darker side, in case you wish to zoom in and observe the process in some detail.
All In a Day’s Work
Despite the various systems at play and the regular introduction of gameplay devices and missions to add diversity to the visitor screening, Organs Please can’t entirely do away with the somewhat tedious nature of this activity. The factory management is more enticing as you pay close attention to all the orders, manage your employees, and unlock facilities, although both parts are tightly interwoven and you need to take care of one to make the other work.
There’s no denying that Organs Please is a polished take on the satirical sim genre, but there’s just something missing to make it a true standout. It’s playable, occasionally witty, and the moral concerns are lighter than what you may expect at first, so if you are looking for a mix of Papers, Please, Fallout Shelter, and a slaughterhouse simulator, you could do worse than this end of the world tale.
- Papers, Please but with more butchering
- Interesting factory management systems
- Screening can get repetitive