Spy on your Tenants: Beholder First Impressions Review

How far are you willing to work so you can feed your family? Are you willing to become a puppet to your government and betray those who you are meant to protect? What choices will you make and can you live with their consequences? After all, every choice you take will affect the life of someone else, and sometimes the results can be dire. Find the answers to these question in Beholder, a game which pits you as the landlord of a building in a dystopian society. As the landlord, you’ll be faced with balancing your loyalty, or disloyalty, to the government and the lives of your tenants.

We’ve already covered that topic before in Gravis Ludus, but today, we’re going to provide our first gameplay impressions of Beholder and how successfully it implements simple gameplay with complex story-telling to create a magnificent game. Beholder does what it set out to do majestically, which is to make us question our own values and loyalties. To this effect, we’re going to elaborate on a few key points. First point is going to be the graphics and art-style.

At first glance, the graphics don’t look exceptional. The characters are distinct black silhouettes of people with only the shapes to distinguish them. The building and the world look almost hand-drawn and has a very appealing charm in contrast to the characters. It wasn’t until a few moments of playing that I realized how magnificently this worked for the game though. The blank figures allow the player to insert actual people into these roles and create a sort of connection with these figurines. We’re meant to see ourselves in the main character as this is essentially your story.

The decisions you make are purely optional and the game has several endings which result from these choices. The art style is evocative of inner reflection and works magnificently in terms of story and gameplay integration. Even so, the drawings are simplistic and nothing particularly special to look at. If intensive graphics are what you’re looking for, then Beholder is not for you. However, when all things are considered the simple animations do look smooth and pleasing to the eye.

In addition to the visuals, the gameplay is solid. You control the game with the mouse, using it to highlight any objects that are interactive, be it person or item. These will provide the choice to repair or investigate (if it’s an item) or speak (if it’s a character). You’ll find each of the characters have their problems and it’s your job to make their lives easier while trying to keep the authorities from firing you. This is easier said than done as you’re also a family man that has a wife and kids with their own issues. Trust me when I say that I won’t spoil it for you, but this game requires a lot of luck to get a positive ending on your first go through. I wasn’t wise and ended up losing my family for various reasons.

Beholder is challenging and complex and that adds a lot of depth. I was constantly challenging my own morals in order to try to please everyone and in the end I was left all alone… because you can’t do such things in real life either. In the end, I was left feeling empty and perplexed. The game made me question everything I stood for. Life is all about choices and, at times, there aren’t any correct ones. I lasted a total of three hours of gameplay before making a grave mistake and dying. I reloaded the save file and then everything that could go wrong went south. Yet, I wasn’t disappointed because those choices were mine and mine alone.

I am impressed at how carefully and fantastically crafted Beholder is. If I were to give this game a score it is a solid 8 or even possibly a 9 out of ten. Only because it made me question my core morals. What would I do if I was in the position of the player character? I don’t know, it seemed every choice I made had a positive and negative consequence. Some of those consequences I wouldn’t be able to live with like the loss of my family.

Beholder is about your story and your decisions? How will you play when it’s your turn? Available now on Steam for PC, what choices will you take when you’re your brothers keeper? Find out in Beholder.

Dash Bomber

Dash The Bomber is a sailor is his 20's with a penchant for goofy, yet deep thoughts. An avid gamer for generations he has played everything from the Atari 2600 to the PC in which he writes his work on. He currently lives in the middle of the ocean and appreciates donations in order to buy goodies from Amazon while deployed (makes his life slightly better). You can help the guy out by donating here: paypal.me/dashthebomber.

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