03rd Jul2019

Digital Shorts: ‘Irony Curtain’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition Britt takes a look at another point and click adventure from Artifex Mundi called Irony Curtain.

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A satirical point and click adventure set mostly in a fictional Eastern European country (Matryoshka), Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka With Love hits all the right notes and manages to get the balance right between humour that doesn’t rely on pop-culture references or meanness and puzzles that, whilst off-the-wall, feel an intrinsic part of gameplay.

You play Evan Kovolsky, a young and keen lover of Matryoshka who lives in The States, publishing a communist newspaper. Through an unusual series of events, Evan is thrown into a world of shady motives and political intrigue, taking him completely out of his depth and away from his surprisingly supportive family.

One of the things that really drew me to the game and helped me to click with the main character is that he isn’t a buffoon or gravelly-voiced, skulking silhouette but just a relentless optimist, as the scenarios in each chapter (they are mostly separated into certain locations) get more involved, Evan’s chirpy positivity and innocuous misunderstandings just get funnier. One of my favourite sequences in the game was set in a hotel room, which I won’t spoil here but I will say that the high-quality voice-acting and tone is vital in getting the jokes to land. It’s rare to find a game that has this level of charm and writing in the point and click genre.

irony-curtain-screen

With visuals (as colourful as the characters) that make each area distinct and a solid soundtrack that veers from marimba-laden jazzy spy tunes to explosive, marching national anthems, the only kink in Irony Curtain‘s armour are a slightly cumbersome inventory interface that never feels natural and some overly-specific points in the game when you need to interact with certain areas. This is minimised by the game not only having a button that highlights interactive sections on the screen but also having an in-game hint function not unlike that found in Thimbleweed Park. In that it is incorporated via cunningly placed in-game telephones, ensuring that no players become unfairly stuck at any point, unless they come a cropper in one of the mini-games…which is unlikely.

Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka With Love is a game that I highly recommend to fans of the genre, with its solid writing and humour, it has put developer Artifex Mundi on my radar and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.

Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka With Love is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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