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Parents' Guide to

Ministry of Broadcast

By Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Dystopian game's uneven controls pose challenges.

App iPhone , iPod Touch , iPad Free to try, Paid Action Games
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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.

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