BY FAR, THE BEST INDIE GAME I’VE HAD THE PLEASURE OF REVIEWING!
Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s get down to why I made this gigantic exclaim straight off the bat.
Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love is a funny, tongue-in-cheek take on the Point-and-Click adventure games from yester-year. Imagine the adventuring clicking styles of Leisure Suit Larry minus the outrageous adult content, but replaced by more comedy and a ‘fish out of water’ protagonist stuck in a parody world of Soviet-era Russia and you’re essentially playing this wonderful game.
So comrade, let’s dive in to the world of Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love.
You play as Evan Kovalsky, a happy-go-lucky USA citizen who is a massive advocate of the Soviet-Era parody nation Matryoshka. Acting somewhat daft and bewildered to the world around him, Evan gets sent a mysterious invitation to attend his beloved international nation, and boy oh boy does it only get stranger (yet funnier) from there!
Somehow, you are the spiting image of one of the ‘Supreme Leader’ (Stalin parody character) members of Government, who is believed to be plotting an assassination attempt on the wondrous Leader. A ploy is hatched for you to infiltrate the ‘Irony Curtain’ in an attempt to save the Leader.
Through a series of point-and-click discoveries, combining objects, humours script and outlandish situations that appear to snowball one after the other, our beloved Evan begins to realise that Matryoshka, The Supreme Leader and even its force fed communism are not entirely sincere…
The game is quick & clever in dropping you in a situation which appears to be towards the climax of the game.
In a style made famous by film director Quentin Tarantino, the game starts you out at the end, before hitting the story line reset, starting you back at day 1 and allowing you to venture through, showing just how Evan ended up in the chaos of the opening cinematic.
GAMEPLAY + CONTROLS
As mentioned earlier, Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love is a love-letter to the 90s eras of point and click adventure games. Now, some 20 years on, this game adds onto what those games lacked in the 90s, giving both the genre and the game itself a stronger stance in the gaming industry.
Many scenarios will be presented to Evan during his time in Matryoshka. These can range from finding a plush toy for a wild tiger, to providing perfume to a giant viking-esque woman who takes pride in wielding iron, to out gambling a street performer via the use of bootleg Vodka. You name it, this game has thought of it and has it implemented in some way, shape or form.
A strong advantage this game has is the lack of cheats. I know that sounds strange or weird, but the game includes a system of guidance built in, therefore disregarding the use of code input or cheat activation. The method, you ask? An in-game public phone and your keyboards space bar. Confusing, yes, but hear me out!
Throughout your travels, Evan will arrive near a public phone. Upon clicking the phone, Evan wanders over to it before the screen changes to a close up of the in-game phones rotary dial. Scratched into the side of the phone is a three digit number.
Dialing that number will greet you with a call to an NPC hotline service, to which a list of questions available to Evan for asking is presented. Some are story line based ‘What happened to **insert character here**?’ but most are guiding questions e.g. ‘How do I get out of this room?’ or ‘How do I create **insert item here**?’
The space bar technique is similar guidance system. By pressing and holding the button, white stars will appear on the screen, showing you what can be interacted with or who can be spoken to.
Fantastic idea and easily one of the most simplistic features that help to not stall the story or leave you feeling frustrated.
GRAPHICS + SOUND
I absolutely adore the art of Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love. It’s a clever, clean and immersive art update that this genre of game has desperately needed. There’s even some subtle nods to pop culture references and past games of the same genre thrown in too. Background art isn’t forgotten either as you’ll discover comedic things such as a toilet bowl hanging from a Ferris wheel, construction workers seemingly hidden from view as they sleep against a pile of dry cement, a vending machine that upon initial inspection appear to be out of order only for you to then be told ‘it works, just remove the tape’ plus various other detailed features of each world that really sum up the fun and depth of the artists.
The soundtrack and audio dialogue are fantastic. Most of the audio fits the scenes beautifully, as previous games of this genre tend to suffer from loud and poorly placed background music that do no more than to force you into the menu settings and slide that music dial all the way to mute.
Unfortunately, the game does sometimes encounter audio issues. Upon one level, you are tasked with playing a vinyl record on a nearby machine. Moments after completing that level, I was whisked away to another level but the vinyl record audio continued to play.
I then realised sometime later that ‘Hey, the dialogue is getting drowned out by this music’ to which I then went to the menu and muted the music, only to find it was still playing! A quick restart fixed the issue. Not the end of the world sure, but annoying none the less.
Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love is one of the best point and click adventure games I’ve ever played. It’s smart, amusing, thought provoking and has an intriguing story! Pick it up today, that’s an order comrade!
- Fantastic point and click adventure game
- Art is sensational
- Game includes guidance system, allowing resolution to in-game problem solving tasks
- Immersive story
- Great audio dialogue
- Audio glitches
- As of this writing, the ending of the game was bugged. Developers have been made aware of this and a patch should be implemented shortly