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Ministry of Broadcast Review

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725796382_MinistryofBroadcastboxart.jpg.989829aaeb3a210e662dfd177201b3da.jpgDrawing inspiration from both George Orwell's novel 1984 and the classic 2D Prince of Persia game, Ministry of Broadcast combines a dystopian narrative with a challenging mix of platformer puzzles. It's definitely a unique mixture, though some of the gameplay mechanics could have used some fine-tuning.
In a dystopian society run by a totalitarian regime, a massive wall created by the rulers has both literally and figuratively divided the people. In the hopes of seeing his family again, one man (never named, but generally referred to as Orange due to his hair) signs up for a reality TV show in the hopes of winning a trip over the wall. Surviving the reality show means completing various platformer arenas, sometimes to the detriment of the other "contestants." As you can see the very premise of the game starts off pretty dark, and things don't exactly get better for our nameless protagonist. However, the game balances its bleak setting with plenty of sarcastic and dark humor. Not all of the jokes land perfectly but overall it provides a unique sense of personality to the game while the story explores some heavy themes of control and desperation, and how far one might be willing to go under dire circumstances.
The dark premise is also offset by the charming pixel art design of the game. It's a well-trod look by now but Ministry of Broadcast still makes it look good, with just enough detail to give characters personality while still feeling appropriate for the oppressed, totalitarian setting of the story. The music isn't bad either and has some surprising variety to it that adds a bit of oddball charm to the experience.
In the same vein of games like the original 2D Prince of Persia or Flashback, Ministry of Broadcast is a cinematic platformer, meaning it's focused around puzzle-solving more than dextrous action. There might be a large gap in the way of your progress, or an aggressive dog, and you'll need to find a way forward using the limited options that the environment provides. There are a lot of really clever puzzles at work here, some of which take a good bit of lateral thinking that is rewarding to work through.
On the other hand, there are also parts of the game that do require you to be quick or dextrous, and these tend to be the most annoying or frustrating moments. The controls are, seemingly by design, rather stiff and clumsy. Orange isn't exactly Mario or Sonic, he doesn't move or turn on a dime and it is incredibly easy to miss a jump by being off by just a tiny bit. When all you're doing is moving boxes in order to reach a high ledge these controls aren't a problem, but when you need to outrun an enemy or escape a crumbling floor, Ministry of Broadcast becomes incredibly obnoxious. It doesn't really make sense to include these precision platforming moments at all when the controls simply aren't designed for it.
Orange's general movements are also pretty slow, which again works during the more cinematic platformer moments, like when Orange is talking to himself and contemplating his actions, but when you just need to get back to the point where you died and try again the slow pace can be tedious. Thankfully, Ministry of Broadcast has some pretty frequent checkpoints, but there are still plenty of times over the short six-hour span of the game that you'll be wishing Orange simply moved faster.

Ministry of Broadcast takes players on a cinematic platformer adventure, one that is in turns thought-provoking and mechanically challenging. The unusual formula doesn't quite come together perfectly, but there's enough here to draw in anyone looking for a unique platformer experience.

Rating: 7 out of 10 Arenas
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