Top Critic Average
Safe House is an unfortunate case. Its core concept and chief gameplay hook are not without potential, which is what makes playing this so frustrating. The foundation to make a solid little spy-themed version of Papers Please is there, but none of the other necessary components made it into the game. A sparse presentation, coupled with an increasingly apparent lack of polish, restricts any potential this game had, instead reducing it to a fairly forgettable experience.
Safe House feels more like a beginning more than a complete game. A formula, more than a package. The artwork is great and every aspect of the game has potential that I hope a one-man team can address to truly put it in the spotlight.
Once in a while, Safe House successfully pulls me into the allure of mindless task managing, but the gameplay drags down the strong elements of the story through its repetition, and despite the multiple endings, its replay value is low.
There are few genres as universally appealing as the spy genre, and yet somehow Safe House manages to take that genre and suck virtually all the fun out of it. There are glimmers of a good game that occasionally flash by, but no matter how desperate you are for a new strategy/spy game to play, you should steer clear of Safe House unless the idea of hand cramps induced by endless mouse-clicking somehow sounds appealing to you.
Given a handful of patches, Safe House could become a bit of a flawed gem. Right now it requires dodging far too many random issues and complications to be recommendable.