[Review] Ministry of Broadcast – Nintendo Switch

Written by Kevin Orme
  • Developer: Hitcents
  • Publisher: Hitcents
  • Release Date: 30/04/2020
  • Price: $14.99 / £13.49
  • Review Code provided by Hitcents

Welcome to the Ministry of Broadcast

I remember hearing about Ministry of Broadcast (what feels like) ages ago. I was greeted some forgotten afternoon by a rather sarcastic crow who seemed to know too much on Twitter. I was curious to know more of what he had seen and what he had to offer me. The crow, known now as “The True Hero of Ministry of Broadcast” showed me a world that intrigued me: a world of surveillance and survival. The world of “the Wall Game”. (@Crows_Caws_Caw if you’re interested.)

Now, given, maybe I’m just a weird guy who felt like the best use of his time was to follow a digital crow and hear of the strange game that he starred in, but I call tell you now that the fine folks over at Hitcents (who made the super good “A Robot Named Fight! that you should totally play as soon as you can) were making something special. Something that got me hooked fast. Something you’ll probably enjoy if you have a dark sense of humor and morbid curiosity.

Smile! You’re on EVERY CAMERA!

Enter the non-booted feet of a man simply known as “Orange”, a man living in a place simply known as “The Ministry of Broadcast”. The Ministry has something they have titled “The Wall Show” which is a brutal reality/survival television show where winners who survive the barbaric gauntlet of trials and hazards receive a pass to exit the city to see loved ones on the other side of the aforementioned wall. Each participant in the show is given the role of either a “civilian” or a “policeman”. The catch here is that there is no punishment for being overly brutal, and even in some instances lethal towards other contestants. So if you are unlucky enough to be somewhere you are not supposed to be you can expect to be beaten to death on the spot without any warning. Stakes are high.

So, as Orange, the only contestant without an assignment, your job is simply to survive so you can go and see your beloved wife and family on the other side of the wall. Avoid death as it surrounds you on every inch of a treacherous television show, even if it means being a terrible person to those around you. It’s them or you, so get ready to make a break for it when the coast is clear!

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Die, Die Again…

A pretty significant portion of your progress in Ministry of Broadcast is going to be written in blood. There are just SO many ways to die in this scenario. I have been killed by getting speared in the head by an icicle, getting hit by a bag of garbage and then knocked into a furnace. Getting attacked by an angry dog and more times than I care to admit, by falling from such a height that my legs exploded. Each puzzle this game throws at you will present a new an exciting way for your life to prematurely end. You rarely feel mad about how often you die though because the game simply loads you back up a few seconds back from where you were before and you can try (and usually fail) to figure out the right way to get farther in The Wall Game.

Orange controls like a regular person would control, which is to say that jumping usually takes a bit of wind-up before you lift off. There’s no health bar or heart system here. If you get stabbed right in the noggin with a massive icicle there’s no coming back from that. You’re straight up dead. This is important to remember because the world is filled with standard traps and hazards you would see in every day life. Ice becomes a bit problem when running on it means that you slip until the ice ends; and it will almost always end with a 60 foot drop to your untimely demise. Jumping in confined areas doesn’t mean you just bonk your head on the ceiling, it means that you get a concussion.

Thankfully, there’s only a few controls during all of this. You have the directional controls, a run button and an “action” button for hitting switches and a few context sensitive actions for a few puzzles. The best part about this is when you have exhausted every movement based solution for getting past a hazard of some sort, you can try adding that action button into your ideas and you should be able to find the solution before too long. I loved it.

Looking Pretty Fly For An Orange Guy

There is something pretty charming about the art style in The Ministry of Broadcast. It reminds me a lot of “SuperBrothers: Swords and Sworcery” from the mid 2000’s in all the right ways. Having the characters be pixelated instead of a more realistic styled representation lets the characters be just a bit more absurd without it feeling strange. Like, if this was a game with real-looking people, the tone would be all wrong. It would make me angry watch people falling on spikes and getting attacked by dogs. However, with the art direction the way it is, I see more of the absurd in it and I’m not turned off with the absolutely horrible situation our protagonist is in.

The music is great. There’s a level of ambiance where it needs to be in the larger more open areas that helps you keep your calm to figure out what you need to do. But when that Dog starts chasing you and you’re running for your life, the music kicks in and you feel that adrenaline. It’s pretty great. Not exactly on my top 10 of all time, but it gets the job done and sounds good while doing it. On top of that, the game runs flawlessly on both handheld and docked modes. It’s great to see a game of this caliber working so smoothly no matter how you decide to tackle it.

Alright! Cut! That’s a Wrap!

To give you an idea of how invested I have become in finishing this game, it wasn’t until I finished a puzzle only to realize I had died 45 times. The entire experience had me excited to find out what horrible fate was just waiting around each corner as I progressed. The team at Hitcents have a knack for making games that feel great and are a blast to play. For the price they’re asking, you’re getting a heck of a deal on quality alone! This a great game and you’ll be sad if you miss it.

I’m also excited that there is already an update in the works that includes a tremendous amount of additional content. It was slated for release on the same day as the Switch release, but sadly faced a few minor delays. It’s something wonderful to hear when a game you really like is going to get a little bit longer.

PROS

  • Somehow charming in all the right ways
  • Perfectly dark humor and clever jokes
  • Watching yourself be murdered a whole bunch is pretty great

Cons

  • Left me wanting more
  • Kind of makes you feel like a terrible person
  • Sometimes, solutions can be a bit out there

VERDICT
Ministry of Broadcast is a delightfully grim dystopian puzzle game that I cannot stop playing (not that the Ministry would ever let me)
4/5

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