Imagine a game that tries to boil down the core essence of Papers, Please, sprinkles on top the interrogation mechanics of L.A. Noire, and then stirs it all together with a big, meaty spoon of Phoenix Wright. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Roman Loznevoy thought so too, and so came to be his ambitious if disappointing Kickstarter: Femida.
Set in a world seeing great social change, you play the role of a judge, tasked with deciding the fates of those accused. To do so, you’re given briefings on different sides of the story and on the lives of those involved. You then move to an interrogation phase where you ask the different parties a max of three questions, unveiling false alibis and contradictions in their statements. Once everything’s been aired out, you’re left to choose their sentence, affecting both the corrupt world of Femida and the character’s own personal life. With such a potentially fun gameplay mechanic, it’s a shame that the game tries so hard to hold itself back.
Playing through the demo, it becomes clear that the writing just can’t keep up with what the developer’s trying to achieve. Spelling mistakes, the occasional broken English, and an overall lack of subtlety in the story shows the writers behind the project can’t live up to the promise of an engaging nonlinear story that questions morality and the choices we make.