Ministry of Broadcast

App review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Ministry of Broadcast App Poster Image
Dystopian game's uneven controls pose challenges.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about perseverance and using logic. They're responsible for figuring out what to do without much help, which requires initiative. While no direct historical references are made, the game also provides a look at an authoritarian rule. Overall, the educational experience kids get out of the game will really echo what they put into it -- and the biggest lessons will probably occur when kids fail at tasks because they can repeat them until they get them right. If kids choose to continue playing, it may help them build strategy, problem-solving, and other skills.

Ease of Play

Occasional hints to perform actions such as pulling a lever are visible in some areas. Players can also choose between a normal and easy difficulty level, but gameplay can get confusing because they aren't given much ongoing instruction.

Violence

The protagonist can die. The game also shows some blood and gore, such as the main character collapsing and bleeding when shot.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

The full version of the app costs $6.99. It also acts as a teaser for the game on the Nintendo Switch and Windows PCs.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

At least one character is seen smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Ministry of Broadcast is an adventure game for iOS devices. The game essentially serves as a teaser for a larger paid version of the game, which is also available via Nintendo Switch and Steam. Aside from occasional instructions, players don't receive much of an overview or significant direction on how to play the game, which may leave them confused at times. The main character can easily die, and although you can play the round again with no penalty, some gore's shown when that happens. The free version of the game provides a fair amount of activity, but to unlock the full version of the app, players will need to pay $6.99.

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What's it about?

In MINISTRY OF BROADCAST, an app version of the game that's available on Nintendo Switch and Steam, the protagonist competes in a reality show. He hopes to win and be able to cross a regime-built wall to see his family. Players need to tap to jump and climb, walk, or skid through military-esque areas to advance to the next activity. Chats with other characters can offer direction or subtle jeers. Obstacles and physical threats such as armed soldiers abound in this single-player game, but if the main character dies, players can try again to avoid the result.

Is it any good?

There are a lot of plot points and hazy goals to unpack in this military state-themed challenge game, but the controls are one of the biggest hurdles to its play. The set-up of Ministry of Broadcast seems reminiscent of the wall that sprung up between East and West Germany in 1961. A structure has been put in place by a strict regime, which has separated the main character from his family, and his goal is to get back to them by winning a televised competition, which will earn him passage over the wall. Moving through snowy scenes, bunkers, and other settings, mostly without shoes -- the protagonist's are lost early on, and a suitable replacement pair proves hard to find -- players must ascend over platforms and other items to progress. It's not always clear where you're going or what you're trying to do, since you're placed in scenes without instructions about which direction to head or what to look for. You also don't get a lot of help if you're get stuck -- challenges may contain a slight clue, such as a sign in the background saying to pull an orange switch, but otherwise, you're essentially on your own to figure out how to advance.

That's harder than it sounds because the controls aren't as sensitive as they need to be for many actions. Too often, the character will jump when you try to make him walk, and you have little control over his speed. Given the amount of items you need to crawl over, climb, or get around, that gets frustrating fast. The graphics can also make it hard to determine whether something can be jumped on or scaled. That said, other elements, such as the gently falling snow and barking dog sound effects, are impressive. While the free version of the app is a preview of the full version, which costs $6.99 to access, you get more than just a glimpse at the game. If you can overlook the controls and the cost, Ministry of Broadcast could provide more than enough of a challenge to invest a fair amount of time in the tale.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. Is the impact of the violence in Ministry of Broadcast affected by the way injuries and death are shown? Is it similar to how violence is shown in other games or movies? Does the format make injury and deaths seem more or less shocking?

  • When have regimes taken over countries, and how did those situations unfold? Was there a way to prevent these situations, or would they have happened anyway?

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App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: reading
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, deduction, hypothesis-testing, logic, problem solving, spatial reasoning, strategy
  • Price: Unlocking the full version costs $6.99.
  • Pricing structure: Free to try, Paid
  • Release date: September 26, 2020
  • Category: Action Games
  • Size: 985.00 MB
  • Publisher: Hitcents.com, Inc.
  • Version: 1.1
  • Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 13.0 or later.
  • Last updated: September 29, 2020

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