A Soviet border agent in Contraband Police checks the documents of a truck driver.

A Soviet border agent in Contraband Police checks the documents of a truck driver.

I’m a stalwart border agent in Contraband Police, and I function the final line of protection between the good nation of Acaristan and nefarious smugglers and weapon sellers. I’m given a few easy instruments, like a folder filled with laws, a flashlight, a clipboard, and maybe most helpful of all, a gun. It’s a lot like indie darling Papers, Please, besides I sometimes have to depart my publish to put down the legislation and shoot some criminals.

Contraband Police is a little janky however deeply compelling, and the game is a shock hit on Steam. It’s the Eighties, and I’m beginning my new job because the border agent in a Soviet-style totalitarian state. My corrupt predecessor was thrown out of his job, and my new co-workers form of suck. I’ve to open up a automobile’s trunk and hood, seek for cigarettes within the entrance grille, and uncover ceramic chickens stuffed full of medication. Meanwhile, my coworkers are having fun with a good smoke break.

It’s the form of game the place it’s simple to fall into a fugue state. I get up in my teeny tiny camper to seek out a line of vehicles ready to enter the border. I name them in, one after the other, and verify the motive force’s papers to verify they meet laws. The game likes to throw me curveballs after I’m most comfy — a man would possibly pace previous the border publish and into Acaristan, and I’ve to dash to my official work truck and chase them down. Or a band of rebels would possibly ambush my publish, and my colleagues lastly turn out to be useful because the border crossing turns into a battlefield.

The player engages in a firefight with smugglers at a saw mill in Contraband Police.

This is why I’ve essentially the most highly effective administrative instrument of all: a gun. I begin with a humble service pistol, however I can improve over the course of the marketing campaign to shotguns, submachine weapons, and sniper rifles. This finally ends up being considerably moot, as I uncover the true artwork of border enforcement, for a professional gamer anyway, is to run as much as a man and poke him aggressively with a pitchfork or shovel till he silently crumples.

Contraband Police additionally sometimes takes me away from my publish. My superiors would possibly name me in to help on an pressing matter, and I’ve to stalk a recognized insurgent by the gloomy woods or examine a native homicide. Sometimes I’ve to haul all of the smugglers I’ve caught all the way down to the native labor camp, the place they will make up for his or her crime of getting a flask of their automobile by mining ore for no pay. All of this appears very ethical and regular!

The game’s taking pictures and driving mechanics are very floaty, and so long as you sometimes duck into some form of cowl, it’s uncommon you’ll lose a battle. But it’s additionally not the true meat of the game; it’s a aspect dish to the principle course of performing some border stops.

Sometimes, after I’m processing a man’s paperwork, he would possibly give me a sob story. “Oh no, my loved one is in Arcaristan, and they’re in mortal peril!” or “If you don’t let me through, a bunch of children will die in a terrible mining accident!” Do I allow them to by, and take a superb from my superiors? It will give me a heat and fuzzy feeling, however I additionally must pay all of the payments round right here, and my Soviet superiors aren’t eager on me increase any degree of debt.

The border agent in Contraband Police checks a driver’s documents, including a carg o list, passport, ID card, and more.

I additionally must pay to improve all of my stuff, and I don’t precisely make a aggressive wage. Therefore, I’m incentivized to actually look over everybody’s automobiles with a fine-toothed comb. It’s weirdly soothing to scan over a man’s automobile and seek for hidden goodies — like cigarettes or cocaine. Sometimes folks supply me a bribe, which I don’t take — it’s method too simple to get caught and penalized. But nobody cares if I commerce contraband with different drivers. I’ve a good little aspect hustle going, as a result of it’s vital to diversify revenue streams. With sufficient work, I can improve my little camper van into a beautiful residence with a tin tub to wash in and a couple of state-approved posters!

The game presently has a marketing campaign that performs out over the course of a month in-game, and the participant is periodically introduced with decisions — do they keep loyal to wonderful Acaristan, or do they forged off their shackles and select to be an inside man for the revolt? Developer Crazy Rocks is engaged on an infinite mode with extra paperwork and police ranks, which I’m trying ahead to. The marketing campaign might be accomplished in a few sittings, and it’s punctuated by some enjoyable decisions — however I’m hungry to maintain checking for contraband.

Contraband Police is on the market on Steam for $16.99 (discounted from $19.99.) The game has since picked up over 4,000 evaluations averaging to “Very Positive” and offered greater than 250,000 copies.