Burn the Boards aims the Papers, Please format at India's poor working conditions
The hazards of e-waste workers
"Ever wondered what happened to the old mobile phone you threw away?"
This is how the description of Burn the Boards opens up. It's how the creators introduce the game. And they should, as it's a game that will answer that question.
It has you playing as a guy from India called Arun who moved to the city with his family to work in an e-waste facility.
You need to help him break boards in the game's puzzles to get money to feed his family while also inhaling poisonous fumes. Glamorous.
The idea in each level is to break the boards apart in the most efficient manner possible. This gets increasingly difficult as you progress but the pay-off (and dangers) also grow.
In the game's shop system, you can spend money on items to make Arun's job easier and protect his health. But you need to spend carefully otherwise your family won't eat that day.
Eventually, if you do well enough, Arun is able to leave this job at the e-waste facility and look for a healthier one.
Yes, it's all a bit Papers, Please, which is no bad thing. However, the creators of Burn the Boards also want to help enact change in the world.
To this end, they've collaborated with the German NGO Action for World Solidarity. Burn the Boards is in some part an educational game about the working conditions of Dalits in India.
You can read a little more about it and donate to empowering and educating Dalits here.