Speaking of an Iron Curtain conjures up things such as the Cold War, East v West, Communism v Capitalism, and spies. That whole period of history has had a major impact on pop culture with a number of franchises drawing inspiration for stories. One of the franchises that did well from it was one James Bond, which in turn has been the inspiration for Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka With Love. The game is full of spies and political intrigue, but instead of sending a spy into the fray, main character Evan is just a naive idealist thrown into a conflict that he bumbles through.
Irony Curtain is a point and click adventure game set in the early 1950’s and follows this young American who absolutely idolises Matryoshka, the Leader, and Communism as a whole. As you may imagine that doesn’t go down too well with most of his American peers, but is spotted by Matryoshka agent Anna, who brings a classic femme fatale aesthetic to the game as she recruits him to help right a serious issue in her home country. Evan may not be the obvious choice, but he seems to be the only outsider that can be trusted due to his love of Matryoshka.
The game plays as you would expect a modern point and click adventure to play. You scan the scenes for items that Evan can look and interact with and people that he can talk to, solving puzzles along the way. The scenes themselves are well drawn and animated with each one having a distinguished style and making it quite obvious what you can interact with. If you’re still not sure then you can highlight all the interactive parts of a scene.
Irony Curtain’s puzzles range from the rather easy to proper headscratchers that can border on frustrating, but the developers have accounted for that by putting in a very helpful hint system. In each area there is either a phone or character that will essentially spell out the solution to the puzzle if you want a helping hand. There were moments where I made use of these to get past some pretty out there puzzles, even if they did make some logical sense in hindsight. One issue was the constant back and forth to reach some solutions, which was made a bit worse with Evan’s slow walking speed. Even his running speed is a little slow.
The story is filled with humour with some moments that are really funny, but there’s also a more understated humour as the people of Matryoshka joke about the dreary lives they are forced to submit to. Underneath this all, Evan is growing as a character, learning to understand the world around him and not just take everything at face value. Evan goes on quite a journey going through this process and seeing him mature a little over the course of the game shows some good writing chops.
There were some technical issues on the Switch version of the game with a lot of stuttering in cutscenes which seemed to get worse later into the game. There were also a couple of times where I couldn’t interact with items, but leaving the area and walking back in helped. At another point the music track just looped the same five seconds, and Evan managed to get stuck to the point I had to reload the game.