Booth is a dystopian indie adventure game with rich story-telling that drives the movement of the game. This game has more to offer than what meets the eye. It boasts a well-paced gameplay with lots of intrigue and tension build up here and there. Its mysterious background story is only further supported by excellent soundtrack and effects, and its oddly-charming pixel art graphics accompanies it as well.
A Successful ‘Papers, Please’ Offspring
Booth was born and inspired by popular indie-slash-political simulation game: Papers, Please. The 2013 game was rated 10/10 on steam and with its success further creating similar video games. 7 years into the future, Booth was released.
In Booth’s world, civilization has much changed throughout the years. A global famine holds societies captive. Since then, the government has gained authority in monitoring the food coming in and out of their respective area. Developer, Guanpeng Chen, describes the players’s world on their Steam page as:
“Now the year is 2036. In the city of Iden, every piece of food entering resident areas must pass a required set of tests, executed by skilled government workers. You, as one of the newly-recruited food inspectors, will carry out your duty 24/7 alone in a booth. Even though it is considered one of the most desired occupations in Iden, what you want from it is a bit different — an escape from this blockaded city.”
As you go through the game, the depth of the story furthers and more conversation with the other characters are played out. During this time, players collect clues to gain more insight about about the city of Iden and, Ned Crawford, your character’s secret plan of escape. Some characters as either here to help, prevent or evem not affect these schemes and it’s up to you decide where they fit.
The Mundane-Yet-Interesting Life of a Food Inspector
A significant part of the gameplay is the player’s role as a food inspector. This role is isolated in an airspace work site also known as a “Booth”. As a food inspector, players will have to clock in for work between midnight to 6am. Outside those times, players continue to live in the booth and must make sure their health is at a fair percentage, ensuring a good amount of sleep and food. Parts of the booth are interactive, specifically the phone where players must call take-out restaurants to keep their fridges stocked and their belly full. You don’t want to be stuck in the booth without anything to eat or drink.
During work hours, players work in almost a factory-like setup with a belt running a designated food item to be inspected for the day. Some days have more items than others. To check the quality they are put through different tests such as weights or color tests. Based on the criteria shown to the player, they either push it through along the belt or discard the unqualified item. The daily wage is dependent on the day’s quality of work. Further along, your choices during dialogue and other cross roads will determine the fate of your character. So choose wisely.
Pixel Art and Soundtracks Rounds This Game Even More
This game already has its story as its main strength but we have to give a spotlight to the art and sound of Booth, creating a great atmosphere for players. From the small sound effects as you click through the game to the rain ambience sounds while on the train, the sound design is quite spectacular. In addition, pixel art-style games never fail to address some kind of nostalgia in video game fans. I can almost imagine playing this game on a small Gameboy Advance SP from back in the day. It offers that sort of charm even at the loading screen.
Booth has definitely exceeded at least my expectations. A lot of respect towards the creators and developers of this game and I would definitely recommend it to fans looking for good story-oriented games. Onwards down through the rabbit hole of Iden and its government! Have you played Booth? If so, share your thoughts about the game with us in the comments below.