When I stopped by Artifex Mundi, my original intention was just to check out My Brother Rabbit. Irony Curtain – despite its interesting art style and intriguing premise – just didn’t seem like my kind of game. Luckily for me, Szymon, Artifex’s PR and Marking Director, started telling me a little more about it, and I couldn’t say no to a demo.
Irony Curtain takes a stark, satirical look at life in a communist country, as experienced by a Western journalist on his first visit to the fictional country of Matryoshka. While it’s a fictional country, Matryoshka and Irony Curtain were created from the histories of people who grew up and lived under communist rule. The team listened to stories and brought in real details from real people as they created the game. It’s an amusing attempt to bring the real experiences of previous generations to younger generations, whose main experience of communist governments comes from pop culture.
This satirical political fiction starts us off with the main character smuggling himself across the border into Matryoshka. He’s ready and excited to experience what the country has to offer him – instead, he finds himself surrounded by all sorts of odd rules and regulations.
The game is a point-and-click puzzle, and it’s your job to lead him through the numerous steps, paperwork, and processes required to get things done. In the demo, I got a small taste of the Matryoshkan life – running from desk to desk to check bags, fill out papers, figure out how to make stamps, and learn how to use vending machines. The puzzles were interesting and surprisingly intuitive (although, as a disclaimer, a very kind dev had to lead me through a few of them!) The artwork is both beautifully done and sometimes a little ridiculous, with lots of detail.
Irony Curtain is both frustrating and silly, and the amount of history that went into it was very apparent in conversations with the developers. I fully expect it to be an interesting and funny look at very real historical experiences.
In the end, I’m pretty glad that I got the chance to try it out – it’s definitely a very different type of game from My Brother Rabbit (which I knew immediately was right up my alley), but it’s no less quirky and enjoyable, and hopefully will be just as interesting to play through fully as it was to try a small taste.
If you’re at PAX, please find the time to stop by and see Artifex Mundi at booth #6608. They not only offer a couple amazing game demos, but clearly passionate people who are so rightfully proud of their work.
Irony Curtain won’t be out until 2019 (although hopefully a release date will be coming out soon!), but when it does you can expect it on Steam, Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One! Interested in learning a little more? Check out the Artifex Mundi Irony Curtain page here!