Lil’ Guardsman vs Paper’s Please: Grit and Grime Turn Wholesome

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Lil’ Guardsman vs Paper’s Please: Grit and Grime Turn Wholesome

Lil’ Guardsman would often remind you of Paper’s Please, even though it comes with a contrasting charm and delight! Find out how these two games compare in our Lil’ Guardsman vs Paper’s Please analysis


Indie games often introduce us to concepts we never thought would thrive in a video game setting. Playing the role of an immigration officer may not initially sound as exciting as battling aliens or rescuing a damsel in distress. However, Papers, Please demonstrated that it could serve as an excellent deduction adventure game with the right execution. Lil’ Guardsman draws inspiration from the Papers, Please playbook but adds its own twist. How similar, yet distinct, are these two titles? Let's find out in our Lil’ Guardsman vs Papers, Please deep dive.

Lil’ Guardsman vs Papers, Please: Similar Mechanics, Different Vibes

Papers, Please, a seemingly simple game, throws you into the heart of a bureaucratic labyrinth. Don't be fooled by its basic gameplay; beneath the surface lies a moral tightrope walk. As an immigration inspector, you'll constantly juggle family, career, and national duty, making desperate choices that test your very core. Are you prepared to face the consequences? Can you navigate this ethical minefield without compromising your values? These are the challenges you need to overcome as you progress through the game.

Lil’ Guardsman vs Paper’s Please: Grit and Grime Turn Wholesome

Credit: Lucas Pope

Lil' Guardsman offers a lighthearted alternative to Papers, Please fans looking for a break from the heavy atmosphere. Instead of a weary immigration officer, players become a 12-year-old sentry, guarding the gates of a magical wonderland. While both games involve credential checks and entry decisions, Lil' Guardsman replaces grim realism with kid-friendly charm, transporting players from a grey border checkpoint to a vibrant, fantastical world.

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Lil’ Guardsman vs Paper’s Please: Grit and Grime Turn Wholesome

Credit: Hilltop Studios

Lil' Guardsman throws you into the shoes of Lil, a 12-year-old thrust into sentry duty while her father chases his gambling luck at the pub. The game environment is captivating yet ridiculous. You get Disney like visuals blended with LucasArts comedy. Sounds like a far cry from Papers, Please, huh? Yet, at their core, both games are the same. You are still making judgement calls, doing investogations, and trying to secure a good payday for your family. Almost everything that made you fall in love with Papers, Please is there, minus the doom and gloom.

Lil’ Guardsman vs Paper’s Please: Grit and Grime Turn Wholesome

Credit: Hilltop Studios

Swapping out Arstotzka's social commentary for a fantasy land brimming with warriors and magical creatures brings a refreshing twist. Lil' Guardsman takes this even further by integrating engaging narrative snippets within the kingdom, incorporating entertaining mini-games, and allowing players to impact the overarching war through their trust in various characters.

Papers, Please set the bar, but Lil' Guardsman adds its own flavor to the bureaucratic genre. The game elevates the experience with incredible voice acting. Every interaction feels lively and unique, thanks to the stellar voiceovers that brought each character to life beyond mere texts. And the fun doesn't stop there! Investing your hard-earned money in tool upgrades allows you to personalize your interrogation style, adding a delightful layer of customization to the decision-making process.

Lil’ Guardsman vs Paper’s Please: Grit and Grime Turn Wholesome

Credit: Hilltop Studios

The key point to highlight in the Lil’ Guardsman vs Paper’s, Please debate is the tone difference; it’s as stark as day and night. Papers, Please's intense atmosphere is engaging, but sometimes you crave a lighter touch. Lil’ Guardsman replaces darkness with charm, immersing you in a world of bright colors, adorable art, and hilarious writing. Even die-hard Papers, Please fans will find themselves captivated by its lighthearted take on decision-making and bureaucratic challenges.

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Lil’ Guardsman vs Papers, Please: What Does the Developers Say?

The creators of the game never shied away from their admiration of Papers, Please. Lauren Clare, who is part of the brilliant voice cast of the game, wrote on X back in April 2023 that the game would appeal to Papers, Please and Monkey Island lovers.

Hilltop Studios' co-founder Artiom Komarov also described how the 10-year-old title has influenced Lil’ Guardsman during an interview with Game Rant.

“Tying back into Papers, Please, part of what makes that game so brilliant is the tension created by the setting and story, but also by the timer counting down,” he said.

“We knew we wanted Lil’ Guardsman to have a more cozy feel, and we also wanted to make sure a player could experiment, poke around, go back, and try different things before moving forward. Early on, I would challenge the team to ‘make failing fun.’ Scott and the writers came up with the Chronometer3000 idea, a device for the rewind mechanic that’s cooked into the plot and narrative.”

Lil’ Guardsman vs Paper’s Please: Grit and Grime Turn Wholesome
The Old One
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