After leaving players emotionally reeling in the aftermath of his Papers, Please, Lucas Pope lives up to the theme of the Ludum Dare competition 'You are the Monster' by putting you in the unenviable position of trying to become the premiere provider of
heaps of unwanted junk mail select mass-marketing mail services. Corporations are struggling determinedly to improve the entire planet with fabulous timeshare offers, strictly 100% legitimate charity projects, lines of credit to extend to the economically disadvantaged and much much more, but they're frustrated because people are calmly going about their private lives and have never heard of these phenomenal opportunities! That's where you come in. In Pope's time management simulation Unsolicited you're there to get these world-changing corporate messages out to the People.
Each game round will have a countdown timer ticking away in the bottom-left, while client jobs appear in slots above it. Clicking on a slot will display information for the job: Name, offer specifics, date, a contact number and so on. Grab the right template from the job by clicking on the proper form on the right, and click the empty form fields to select the corresponding information. You'll then click to sign it, seal it in an envelope and send it out for delivery. If any of your information is wrong, the letter gets crumpled up and you'll have to do it over. As the timer counts down more jobs will start filling up, so you'll need to be quick as well as accurate or you'll lose clients each round rather than gaining them. The dropdown menus to fill the form fields can be a little finicky in terms of accepting your mouse clicks; sometimes you'll click and the menu will disappear, but the field will still be empty. We found that making sure not to click on the edges of the menu items but on the data itself helped with that. All told, Unsolicited plays like a smaller afterthought of Papers, Please. Proof that games themselves can deliver a critique of aspects of our society, Pope appears to enjoy causing us to ask ourselves how much an inconvenient-but-innocent-seeming system of paperwork encroaches on our right to be left alone, and get us to consider how paperwork processes reinforce the sense of normalcy the status quo requires to keep doing what it does... and who benefits from that, at whose expense. Unsolicited also provides a very satisfied feeling of calm as you begin to appreciate that however much people do things that annoy and frustrate you, the position of whoever's dishing it out isn't any better off from their side. The next time you get a piece of junk mail you can relax for a moment and think to yourself, 'Hey. My life's not great, but at least I don't have to be the guy mailing all that stuff out!' As social critiques go, that little gem's the best we've encountered in a while.