Ministry of Broadcast (PC) | Review

Ministry of Broadcast is a game that almost passed me by. I missed the original release, and it’s not popped up in any of my Steam queues, nor in any “recommended” lists for my particular gaming tastes, but I happened upon it in a YouTube video (thank you TripleJump!), and decided that I’d have to give it a try.

The concept behind Ministry of Broadcast, in short, is that the world has gone through some catastrophic events, and the country you’re living in has been split in two – one half for “broadcasters” and one half for “receivers”. You are Orange, and you’re trapped on the “broadcasters” side of the wall, and unfortunately, your whole family is on the other side of the wall. On the plus side, the broadcasters will grant you a one-way travel visa on the condition that you win their gameshow, The Wall. In The Wall, there are supposed to be two sets of people, cops and civilians. The cops are just enforcers of the rules, and civilians are seemingly deathproof props for you to murder in order to help you through the evil puzzles that have been laid out for you. Most of the puzzles are arranged in such a way that you will have to chase or persuade an unwitting civilian into a deathly trap – although as you’ll learn these are just TV magic deaths and the civilians remain unharmed at the end of a broadcast day. As morbid as it may sound, this is a brilliant design choice from the devs, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. Not only are puzzles potential murder scenes, they’re also moral conundrums. Do you absolutely need to kill everyone to get where you need to go? Or is there another way around it?

Orange, despite performing these grotesque tasks, manages to keep relatively upbeat as he doesn’t seem to quite understand the pain he’s putting his colleagues through. It’s fun to read his thoughts and conversations with other people and gives you an insight into the world that the game is set in, and how depressing and disgusting it is with the way the puzzles have been created. It all builds together to make a very intriguing and interesting story that I really couldn’t get enough of. Your fellow fodder, after a few days of you essentially torturing them with your unerring desire to complete puzzles, begin turning on you and adding a bit more of an element of confusion about what is really happening to them and also a bit of fear about what might happen to you, now your comrades are your enemies.

The puzzles in Ministry of Broadcast are quite devilishly created and do give you pause for thought, almost from the get-go. It’s quite counter-intuitive as you’ll need to consider the best way of getting through puzzles while either harming your friends or not. Each day has several different areas, and each area has many different puzzles to overcome in order to get through and succeed. Nothing is ever impossible (except for the insane difficulty on day 4!), but there is certainly enough challenge to make you need to think before you act. There are also a lot of hidden secrets in the game. If you push a box a bit further than you’d think would be useful, you might just find a hidden area with some unique and interesting dialogue.

Ministry of Broadcast is a platform game, and as such, you’d expect it to have tight, responsive controls. You would certainly be mistaken and disappointed if you were expecting that, sadly. There are only six buttons in the entire game really – arrows keys or WASD to move, F to interact with and Shift to sprint. All pretty easy and straight forward so far, and, if you use the WASD keys, you can play one handed which is a nice bonus. The problem comes with the responsiveness in the game. You will be jumping a lot in this game, and you can do so in two different ways: a long jump and a high jump. In order to do the high jump, you must be completely stationary and the long jump will be performed when you hold a direction and the up button. In theory, anyway. I’d say around 60% of the time it worked as expected, but the rest of the time, even when I was certain of my inputs, I would end up plummeting to my death, getting eaten by a crocodile or just jumping away from the ledge I needed to actually grab. Most of the time it isn’t too big of an issue, as there are frequent checkpoints, but there are definitely certain areas where you’ll be having to repeat large chunks of a level and it can get very tiresome, very quickly.

I completed this game on both easy and normal settings, and probably due to my lack of desire to “git gud” at games these days, I found easy the much more enjoyable setting, with the normal setting giving a lot of extra, slightly unfair challenge. It felt as though jumps were shorter, so even though you may be at the edge of a platform jumping to another one, you may just miss it even if you think you shouldn’t have. There are some definite parts which featured much better level design though, with hazards being placed in spots where they weren’t before, meaning you had to think harder before you jumped blindly into it, so it’s definitely not all bad. I would say though, if you want to enjoy the story, then just playing it on easy – even if you get mocked at various points for it – is the best way to play the game. It’s still tricky in places, but it never feels too unfair, and you can explore and see all the cool things that Ministry of Broadcast has to offer.

The final annoyance I had with Ministry of Broadcast is that when you die, or if you play the game through multiple times, you will have to read the same dialogue. Over, and over, and over again. With any other game, I’d be fine with it, because it’s just part of the game and I can just deal with it. In this game however, they provide you with an option to skip dialogue – a wondrous, magnificent idea! Only they lock it for almost every conversation, meaning even though they make a show of being able to skip boring chatter, you’re never actually able to.

Overall, I did enjoy Ministry of Broadcast, though they could’ve made a few imporvements to the game to make it even better. I definitely found myself getting frustrated with certain aspects, and having to repeat tricky sections over and over because of a jump or an enemy wrecking me at the wrong time. Despite that though, the game definitely has enough to play it through a couple times, especially if you want to see all the endings!

4 Stars

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