Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Athanasios 06.01.2020

Review for Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love on Nintendo Switch

Good morning comrade. Looking for a crash course in satire of communism? Then you can try out Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love, which can be described as a point-and-click adventure similar to Monkey Island, complete with a goofy character and pretty gal, but with a totalitarian soviet state, rather than a "Yarr! Pirates and Rum" world. Artifex Mundi's creation provides clear evidence of the team's love for LucasArts classics (with a little of Daedalic thrown in as well) - but is that ever enough? Here's look at the Switch version to find out.

Evan (not I-van) is a very passionate nerd of all things communism, as seen in his love for the fictional USSR-esque state of Matryoshka, and how he is oblivious to the fact that it's a crazy place ruled by a maniacal dictator. This dorky hero will soon meet a stunning, Cold War-era beauty from said country, who'll get his behinds to this dreamland of his, in order to carry out an important mission. From the cartoony visual style used, it is obvious of course that Irony Curtain won't be a serious critique of "Red" totalitarian regimes, as this leans far more towards the comedic/satiric side of the scale - and it's not very good at it. Irony Curtain is a quantity-over-quality kind of experience, as the jokes are aplenty, but they can't really be considered that funny.

Screenshot for Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love on Nintendo Switch

There's nothing particularly bad about the humour on offer, but there's nothing great either. A few snickers here and there, some rare instances where the writing seems to be a bit better, but, as a whole, this is mediocre. One example is when Evan (not I-van, E-van) is told that he'll have to show the 'Comrade Leader' his ass; a long scene full of "clever" double-meanings and so on, which doesn't really lead anywhere. Oh, yes, ass is actually a pass, minus the pi - hardy, har-har. Comedy is subjective, of course. Can the same be said about political satire, though?

Hard to tell, but this attempt at making fun of communism ranges from okay-ish, to awkward, then to simply silly, and even unfair, with not much counter-criticism of the other side, although it sort of attempts to do so in the first chapter, where Evan (E-van, with an 'E') will make a presentation of Matryoshka on live TV, and talk with two stereotypical, capitalistic pigs. Speaking of Evan (never forget that it's not Ivan), the developer tried making a character similar to Monkey Island's Guybrush, a popular trope of old-school adventures, where the protagonist is so innocent and dorky that it's funny… but here the naivety card is used way too much, and ends up feeling artificial.

Screenshot for Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love on Nintendo Switch

The gameplay is point-and-click 101, with Evan (make sure to pronounce that correctly) having to search around the place for items that'll lead to... well, even more items, which will eventually help him find the solution to problem, either by combining said items together, or straight up using them in the right place and time. The puzzles are a mixed bag. There are many clever ones, and plenty that are just decent. Few will really challenge players (mostly the crazy-logic ones), but, thankfully this isn't a walk in the park. There's also an integrated hint system available, which is fun to use as it's actually a phone exchange between you and a Matryoshkan public servant.

There are two flaws concerning the gameplay section. First, quantity-over-quality strikes again, as moving even an inch usually requires plenty of work, with one example being a long fetch-quest in the beginning, where you'll need a variety of items just to leave a room. Not much grey matter use there, just lots of tedious busywork. The second issue is that many times you simply won't know what to do. That doesn't mean that this should spell that out for you, but searching around without any general goal in mind can't exactly be considered great game design.

Screenshot for Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love on Nintendo Switch

On a more positive note, a lot of attention has been given to each scene. The characters themselves are nice and all (Evan is actually the most forgettable thing in here), but it's the hand drawn backgrounds that really stand out, because of how detailed, colourful, and all-around polished they are. On a less positive note, while snooping around you can come upon an enormous amount of pop culture (mainly gaming) references and Easter Eggs, these are used a bit too much, and not that skilfully, to be honest - in other words, they sort of ruin the immersion after a while.

Finally, although not broken or anything, the controls are somewhat counterintuitive when it comes to the inventory UI; the kind that makes you stop and think what the correct button is for the various actions. It's "complex" for no reason, when almost everything could be mapped in two buttons. Again, Irony Curtain is not really bad… it's just that it's a mixed bag of elements that sometimes work and sometimes don't. In conclusion, unless you are really into the Eastern Bloc theme on offer, there are better recommendations in the genre.

Screenshot for Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love is a point-and-click adventure taking place during the Cold War, that happens to be a light satire of the "Reds." That's not a bad premise, and Artifex Mundi's creation is far from a bad experience - but it's far from entertaining either. Most of the comedy is heavy-handed, the satirical aspect is very hit and miss, and the puzzle-solving can often feel like an array of chores. Lower your expectations upon entering - as if paying a visit to Matryoshka itself.

Developer

Artifex Mundi

Publisher

Artifex Mundi

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Dragon0085, Flynnie, jesusraz, Ofisil, Sandy Wilson, Sasari

There are 6 members online at the moment.