Analysis of Ministry of Broadcast: A well-designed and surprisingly fun Orwellian dystopia

Ministry of Broadcast
Written by Kamran Haider

Since you have no name, they call you Carrot. You want to cross the wall that separates a city and reunite with your family. To do this, you must participate in a deadly reality. But how far are you able to go for victory? You will not know if you do not participate.

The original Prince of Persia will always be a special game for me. It was not the first experience I had with a video game, but it was the first game that my father brought home and we reviewed from beginning to end, hallucinating with each of the secrets that took him beyond the common platforms. I like to see that his legacy has not been lost or, at least, has not been reduced solely to its three-dimensional aspect, because the Ministry of Broadcast collects not only winks but clear inspirations in the work of Jordan Mechner.

You see, Prince of Persia did something that few platforms dare (and the logical one). You had to play with anticipation in the jumps. Take into account the “run” necessary to jump on the edge of the platform. This frustrated many players, accustomed to their actions being instantly represented in the game. So much so, that in many games with recent platforms, such as Dead Cells, concessions are allowed at the time of the jump and fall, creating a sense of risk. There is also a lot of this in the Ministry of Broadcast. The work of the homonymous study wants you to feel the danger in each abyss towards a death that seems inevitable and that is broadcast on television by the Regime.

Your character has no name, like the Prince. Here you are cannon fodder. A contestant who tries his luck in this macabre reality in order to pass the wall that divides a city in two, to reunite with your family. It may seem that the game wants to commit to its Orwellian atmosphere and its criticism of voyeurism, but nothing is further from reality. As nobody knows your name and give your reddish hair, everyone knows you by Carrot. AHA. The authors do not miss the opportunity to show the few lights you have, with some deaths that prove it. The entire oppressive atmosphere is dotted with a well-constructed satire, often bordering on black humor and bobalicón, while a crow mocks you in the dozens of times you will die during the game.

The portrait that draws Ministry of Broadcast is difficult to fit

The truth is that the portrait that draws the Ministry of Broadcast is difficult to fit. The references to the dystopian state controller are clear, but quickly moves away from the subject and focuses its attention on the contestants of the program and how you use these partners on many occasions to overcome an insurmountable obstacle. The moment you think the game takes it with humor, it becomes serious and, when you suspect that its authors seek to judge how far you are able to go to win the contest, they return to humor without ties. The only conclusion I could reach is that the studio plays with you and with your expectations as a seasoned player. He wants to break, first and foremost, your prejudices about what is or is not the Ministry of Broadcast.

In the end, the only way to know the truth is through different levels. Getting around the dangers sometimes requires skill in jumping and other thinking before acting, often pushing objects or operating a series of levers. It almost always implies that someone is going to suffer damage in the process and it is easy to ask if there was another way to solve the problem. Although lately, we find many examples of fast-acting platforms, such as CelesteOri or Super Meat Boy, I missed this other side that mixed things with puzzles and jumps right to the edge of the ledge.

Death as trial and errorDeath as trial and error

The sand is divided into several levels that will grow in difficulty … and histrionics

As I say, there is a lot of Prince of Persia, from the own pixel art drawing of the Prince that you see in some walls, even in the doors that you level up. From the ground skewers to the breakable platforms. But there are also other references from the nineties: Another World and Flashback, which bring the player back to those persecutions where Lester was saved in extremis or that lethal contest in which Conrad participated to get ten thousand credits. Here, the platforms are mixed with well-designed puzzles, which never hinder and do not pretend to stop your progress. In Ministry of Broadcast, the challenges are usually overcome with that classic trial and error that here does not end up frustrating because the restart after each death is immediate and always accompanied by its hints of humor. You simply cannot get angry when you forget the stalactite after circumventing more obvious dangers or slipping ridiculously on a surface falling to certain death.

In fact, I believe that the “trolley” of the authors is more than evident. Your character loses the boots at the beginning and, almost as a collectible, we can find secret rooms with boots that never end up adapting to him. But more histrionic is the rewind. I have had to restart the game a few times to place the button that allows us to start from the last control point where 95% of the video games have a pause in the command, and I am sure that it is done like this. Bart playing the electrocuted cupcake in The Simpsons simply didn’t learn the lesson. Our friend Carrot either. You will slide on the ice, again and again, you will fall too high, you will end up drowned and skewered on skewers, you will activate traps towards your own death … And on many of those occasions, you will do everything smiling at the Dantesque show.

The puzzles are ingenious, without becoming too challenging. The mix between platforms and puzzles suits him.

Perhaps the Ministry of Broadcast loses some of the freshness of the former in its last hours, but at least it knows how to supplant it with some of the most challenging levels offered by the game. So much so that the controls, which in the most complex moments do not respond as fast as we would like, they can get a bit frustrating. But in general, the study has done a great job. Its end does not impact, although I have the slight suspicion (I can be wrong) that there are some variants in these sections that, in a second game, may change the evolution of events. In any case, I missed an experience like the Ministry of Broadcast. A platform dotted with puzzles with a tight challenge and a fun setting, which brings out more than one smile.

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It’s hard for the Ministry of Broadcast to leave you indifferent. It is simply made with a craft that I missed. Their puzzles and platforms always invite to continue, never overwhelm or demoralize. The splashes of humor are taking away the prominence to what would have been the nth dystopia in video games, and it does well in it. And that eternal feeling that the authors not only “trolley” your character, but you as a player is something that should continue to develop in the middle. You can get a little tired to its final moments, although they are very good, and also frustrated by the control in certain aspects, but the Ministry of Broadcast overcomes obstacles well and is recorded in the player’s retina. Like the reality shows he inspires, he is morbid, chaotic and you never know what will happen next.

  • A great mix of platforms and puzzles
  • Your mood: morbid and bobalicón
  • An unpredictable game, you never know what your intentions are
  • You can get some fatigue to your last stretch by repetition, although these levels are quite good.
  • When it becomes more demanding, controls can be frustrating.

About the author

Kamran Haider

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