Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka With Love is a satirical point and click adventure game set in the Cold War era. Following communism obsessed Evan Kovolsky, he finds himself in Matryoshka, the country he’s obsessed with after meeting a woman named Anna after a presentation on TV goes wrong.
Overall the narrative doesn’t exactly take itself too seriously. It’s a comedic parody first and the story only serves as a foundation which to build the comedy off. That doesn’t mean there are more serious story elements. For example: the main theme of the story is personal growth, something we see Evan go through as he makes his journey through Martyoshka. So, there is a story here but the game is designed to get laughs more then leave you seriously contemplating some great narrative experience.
Even though it is a point and click game there’s a lot to the gameplay that makes it way more enjoyable than other games in the genre. Plenty of environmental puzzles litter each area, always making you think about how you might have to tackle each area. If you do get stuck there’s a system which highlights all intractable things in the area. Alongside that if you’re REALLY stuck you are able to find phones with numbers you can call, allowing you to get hints, usually in hilarious manners by calling someone who shouldn’t necessarily know about the situation.
You won’t really find yourself just spamming every object around the screen like you would in most point and clicks. Some harder puzzles might lead you to trial and error or get a bit frustrating but you almost never find yourself in a situation you can’t figure out without a bit of thinking or a phone call. To mix up the game a little more you also have inventory puzzles to think about. Evan is able to combine certain items he has on him which might be the hidden solution to some things when you’re scratching your head wondering what you haven’t interacted with. It’s a satisfying style of point and click that doesn’t feel brain dead but neither is it so complex you just spam the screen in the hopes of brute forcing it.
Since it’s a game all about humour and interacting there is a focus on the cast that really pays off, leading to many funny interactions. Even some of the earlier ones between Evan and his journalist rival or Evan’s parents covering for him and wishing him luck in Matryoshka in front of what are definitely not parodies of FBI agents in front of them in the middle of the Cold War. If you don’t mind a little bit of stereotyping then the humour and cast only get better the more you progress. The comedic value helps offset some of the frustration you might get with some of the more hard puzzles you come to.
There’s also a great artstyle and soundtrack that accompanied the gameplay. Evan has a slightly different look to him since everything else on the screen is mostly static or on a looped animation unless interacted with. I feel like Evan’s stand-out artstyle is both a good and a bad thing because you’re able to tell where he is at any point but since he’s the character you see the most it’s a little off putting seeing this 3D model running around in a 2D artstyle world. Outside of that one little thing everything else about the art is solid and visually appealing.
A copy of the game was provided for this review by the developer/publisher