As soon as Booth: A Dystopian Adventure is booted up, the wonderful 8-bit graphic style and theme really does call back to another very popular 8-bit adventure – Papers, Please. One main similarity between the two is the dystopian future setting and ongoing puzzles that go beyond moving a few tiles and objects around.
Booth: A Dystopian Future is set in the future with a dystopian setting, and involves checking everything that passes through your booth. There is also a clear link between the main characters actions and the political overarching story-line alongside its multiple endings as Booth continues to pay close attention to Papers, Please throughout. The main story differences between the two is that in Booth: A Dystopian Future, you are hired as a food inspector and instead of your booth sitting comfortably on solid ground, and it is your job to inspect each food item that passes under your nose and make sure that only the best produce reaches the city centre.
The game-play takes different forms, the main story-line is point and click based when roaming about your booth. Before and after your working day you are visited by various people with different dialogues which is a great way of breaking up the monotony of the day job (night shift). When sitting at your booth you’re greeted with a conveyor belt that brings food in front of you and doesn’t stop until your shift is over. You need to click and drag each food item to the various testing equipment in front of the conveyor belt and only put it back on the conveyor belt if it meets all the criteria.
It really does create a sense of drama and anxiety because the conveyor belt never stops moving. The food items only stop when you take them off the conveyor belt to test them, and if you find that the food isn’t meeting the standards of the “food overlords”, they are discarded through a trash chute.
The anomalies in the food are randomised in the gameplay, so you can get a day where you only throw away one item and you can get another day when you can chuck almost everything away. This does a fine job of keeping the gameplay feeling fresh and keeping you on your toes, rather than breezing through the story on auto-pilot.
In terms of story-line there’s a clear dystopian future feel about it all. You are hired as a food inspector by the government to make sure that the food that passes through you is meeting the criteria they set out. There is no given back story as to why there are food shortages, but it becomes clear as you play through the game that there really is more than meets the eye as there is certain levels of classism going on. Booth also has several endings which each hit home in a vastly different way, and when you finish the game once, you really do feel the need to boot Booth back up again and see how it could have played out differently.
Booth: A Dystopian Adventure
As the gameplay is pretty straight forward, the story needs to take center stage and thankfully it more than stands up and delivers, otherwise Booth really would have struggled here. During the playthrough, there were no bugs found and no dips in performance throughout – lovely,lovely – however, I would have been extremely concerned if this simple gameplay concept managed to run into gameplay issues.
- Multiple endings
- Great branching story
- Great art style
- Almost too similar to Papers, Please
- Too simple gameplay
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