MSRP: $9.99 (Win, Mac, Linux) / $4.99 (iOS, Android)
Platforms: Win, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android
If you’re looking for a feel-good game, keep looking. The Westport Independent casts you in the role of newspaper editor under an oppressive government regime. There are no victory conditions except those you set yourself, and even then, there’s a good chance you’re going to walk away feeling like you lost. And if you’re expecting compelling game play, well, you’re really not looking at the right game.
Now, all that isn’t to say I don’t respect The Westport Independent and what it does. It’s a thinking game more than a fun game. If you don’t struggle with your choices at least once during the game, you’re not playing it right. At the beginning, I decided that I would do whatever it took the keep the paper in business and keep my employees safe, and published propaganda and ridiculous celebrity news bites and did my best not to anger the government. I wavered a couple of times, when I just couldn’t suppress my outrage at the fictional injustices being perpetrated.
If you believe that a game is supposed to make you feel strong and powerful, this one fails. However, if a game is meant to challenge you, and to stay with you after you’ve closed it, The Westport Independent is a raging success. A single play through takes around an hour, and I finished it wondering if I could have done this or that differently and effected the outcome. Going by the achievements, it seems that there are four different endings for each of the four districts, but I don’t know that it’s possible to “do well” across the board.
If you choose to play on a tablet or other mobile device, be aware that there’s a lot of reading involved. As long as that’s comfortable, I really don’t see any reason not to purchase it for half the price.