Set in the Cold War era, a journalist thinks communism is needed in America. He seems obsessed with the fictional country Matryoshka. That word usually refers to the Russian dolls that stack inside of one another. It’s a satire that places the journalist into a humorous situation. You advanced the story through a point-and-click style of gameplay. There are two main puzzles to complete. Advancement in Irony Curtain comes through finding, delivering, using or delivering items, and mini-games that make you need to think a bit. The length of time you’ll be playing will depend entirely on how fast you solve each section. If you want to follow a walkthrough, you can check that out in our Irony Curtain Walkthrough post.
Here’s what I liked:
Witty Story — Satire can be hit or miss, but luckily it’s a grand slam here. It’s humorous how they point out the flaws with communism. The journalist (Ivan) raves about it and thinks it’s the right way to do things. Yet, at the same time, you can feel how much of a pain it is for everything to need applications and be certified in the most basic of things. Ivan is thrown into the world he desires, at the same time eventually figuring out its flaws. He thinks he’s protecting “the leader” but he’s suddenly and unwillingly a spy. His ignorance of the situation is what makes it all the better. There’s even a plot twist at the end for good measure.
Just the Right Puzzle Difficulty — Sometimes it’s frustrating to get stuck on a puzzle. Irony Curtain has just enough difficulty to get near that point, but never past it. Usually it only costs you time. You just have to wander around more, or interact with everything with all items. Maybe try to combine everything together. There always seems to be an out when you’re stuck. I guess it could all depend on the person’s thought process but I will admit I am not great at figuring things out very often and I was able to complete the game without any outside help.
Easter Egg Extravaganza — There are so many Easter eggs, that you will likely miss a lot of them. The developers state there are well over a thousand. If you’re keeping an eye out, you should be able to discover at least a handful. They pay tribute to their inspirations such as Monkey Island. I love how blended in they are, and aren’t very obvious to figure out. One example is the Eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings. I saw a tower that looked just like it, as well as a key in the same shape. If you grew up in the ’90s you’ll probably be able to recognize a lot more than someone younger. It’s a throwback to all the things that have defined our “geekhood” throughout the last few decades.
Escape Room Simulator — You’re never in a truly open world. Each section serves as its own mini-area and your goal is usually to get to the next. What I like about it is that it reminds me of an escape room. Certain items you find will unlock something, which grants you access to figuring out something entirely different. It helps that the areas are not gigantic. You can focus on one section at a time. It’s fun to interact with the world, hoping something will happen.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
No Chapter Select — Not a huge problem, but I really wish you could replay a chapter after you complete the game. If you want to retry for an achievement, you’ll have to start a fresh save file and start over. I played through two times yet am still missing some things. There isn’t much of a hint on what I need to do, which means I could end up spending a lot more time than I want aimlessly attempting stuff I hadn’t in a previous playthrough. If I could select a chapter, it would save a lot of time and allow me to concentrate on specific areas. Hopefully they’ll add this feature in the future.
Interacting — Selecting certain actions doesn’t always work as intended. Sometimes nothing at all will happen, and you’ll have to move around and try again for it to work. Initiating an action doesn’t work nearly as much as it should. This isn’t just a once-in-a-while problem, it happens quite often. It’s the only issue that I had with the controls which were otherwise perfect. I think it happens when going to an object or to talk to a person. Sometimes you’re not close enough and you’ll walk towards it, then stop. Besides this little hiccup, it controlled quite smoothly.
The point-and-click genre is not one I’ve personally been interested in. This one is excellent, both for people who love these types of games and those who don’t usually care about them. The story is one to remember, giving a somewhat educational yet funny look into how communism works. Being set in the Cold War era, it does everything right to keep things fairly accurate, even while being fictional. By accurate I’m talking about the music and culture. I only had an issue with certain interactions and wish there was a chapter select option. Otherwise, I advise anyone to pick this up and play through it. If you have kids around while playing, maybe avoid talking too much to the homeless man. He has quite the mouth on him! Hopefully you’ll enjoy this title as much as I did.
Score: Highly Recommended
Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love was published and developed by Artifex Mundi on Xbox One. It was released on June 28, 2019, for $19.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.