Being a landlord can be a tough job. To make matters worse, the government is forcing you to snoop on your tenants. Welcome to Beholder, where nothing is private.
You are put into the role of Carl Stein, a landlord who has been hired by the State to replace the old landlord. You are ordered to monitor the lives of your tenants by means of security cameras and good old fashioned snooping.
In Beholder, you are moved into your new home and you are tasked with catching criminals by any means necessary. You can help the state or you can turn your back and help the resistance movement in secret.
You are given a number of different options and your choices matter, but the story gets lost often. Certain choices and decisions seem to appear out of nowhere without any previous context. Suddenly, I want to flee the country with my family, even though my daughter died and my wife and son have been arrested for reading books? Good luck getting them out of prison.
While there are confusing aspects to the story, the backdrop is immensely powerful in telling the story of Beholder. Fleeing citizens, explosions and propaganda vehicles convey the dystopian message better than any story could. Ridiculous government directives are constantly coming through, ordering you to report people who own apples or blue ties, for example.
Throughout my time as the landlord of Krushvitze 6, I always felt the government looming over me. There are little events and reminders that will give you a feeling to tread lightly; you’re being watched just as I watch my tenants. Beholder plays with your mindset to the point where you’ll be either too paranoid to disobey orders or realize that the moral high road is the way to go. For example, if the government orders you to evict a tenant, will you tell them the truth and risk being detained? Or do you plant incriminating evidence in their room and look good to the government overlords?
You are provided with a number of tools to aid the state in its goal to catch criminals.You must place cameras in tenants apartments, snoop through keyholes and break in when they’re not home. The gameplay is tense; you never know if you’ll get caught or when the tenant will be back. Fortunately, a good deal of the stress is taken off once you get security cameras placed in their rooms.
The gameplay has a tendency to feel repetitive. While this shows often, the repetitive nature of Beholder is saved due to the fact that most of the actions you make are going to leave you tense and finicky until you’ve completed your task.
The art style and graphics of Beholder drive the dystopian message home. What stuck out the most to me are the character models. Characters are portrayed as shadows, indicating that everyone in this nation has been stripped of their individuality in public and private life. The totalitarian government seemingly has complete control over its people and that is made clear via the character’s appearance.
While it is a fun and engaging title, Beholder doesn’t offer much in replay value. There are multiple endings and scenarios, but for the most part, they have a “seen one, seen them all” vibe. There are a few different endings you can get without actually completing the game, but the ones at the end are just variations of one overall ending.
Beholder is an engaging title with the stress dialed up to 11. It’s not something you’ll binge for days on end, but it is a game that you can come back to every now and again.
Beholder is available on Steam for $9.99.
The product, Beholder, was given to us by publisher Alawar Premium. This does not affect the outcome or final score of the review.
Warm Lamp Games
Windows, Mac OS X, SteamOS + Linux
What Beholder lacks in variety, it makes up for in tense, fun and challenging gameplay.