Game Review: ‘Beholder’ is a rare gem for mobile gamers
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Popular role-playing PC game Beholder is now available on Android and iOS. Developed by Warm Lamp Games and published by Creative Mobile Publishing, the game charges a one-time price of Rs320 and doesn’t compel the user into spending at regular intervals through in-app purchases.
It works offline and takes up about 600 MB of space.
The game has a fascinating storyline. It is set in a dystopian world where the government controls every aspect of life. What makes it unique from other games with similar theme is the fact that you don’t get to play a hero here. Instead you see the world through the eyes of landlord Carl who is being forced to spy on every tenant, document all suspicious activities and report them back to the state.
The game has two difficulty levels but a single game mode. The game controls are simple and easy to remember. Like the point and click version of Beholder for PC, here you have to tap on the screen to highlight the choices you make.
You can scroll through all the apartments by swiping through the screen, while tapping at any point will move Carl to that spot. You can converse by selecting the options that show at the bottom of the screen.
The game uses both voice and text to drive conversation between characters. It also provides tutorials on how to move characters, chat with others, plant surveillance cameras, and contact authorities. You earn coins and reputation after every mission. Coins can help you buy items in the game, while with reputation points, you can buy restricted items such as surveillance cameras.
The moral dilemma
Carl has to maintain a case file on every tenant and report every minor act that violates the law. The game allows you to wrestle with your conscience by giving you every opportunity to overlook things or even argue with government agents over an assignment handed over to Carl. However, eventually you have to do as the state bids to protect Carl’s family.
The game objectives are placed in a hidden tab. They are refreshed with every mission. The objectives include installing a spy camera in apartments when the neighbours are out, chatting with them to assess their loyalty to state, searching their cupboards for illegal items or documents encouraging dissent against the state.
You can also set up a tenant you don’t like by planting illegal items in his room and reporting him to the authorities. The control you have over the lives of tenants can be overwhelming. It is this darker side of human psyche which has been given a lot of space to flourish in the game.
The game offers a third-person perspective and has a very stage-like view of the life of the inhabitants of the apartment block. The interface is simple and looks likes pages of comic books. The characters are faceless and can be identified only with the names mentioned around them. It is a clever trick and has been used in games with dark overtone before to avoid the feeling of guilt you may feel for your actions.
Is it worth a try?
Though Beholder is a slow game and involves lot of waiting and watching, you can speed up things a little by increasing the game speed. The fact that it doesn’t stifle your progress with in-app purchases makes for a smooth gaming experience. It is definitely a one-time play for its unique storyline and for the curiosity to know how things turn out for Carl in the end.
Developed by Warm Lamp Games
Tested on Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage)