Orwell's Animal Farm - Napoleon triumphs
Games,  Review

Orwell’s Animal Farm review

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. Orwell’s Animal Farm is a simulation game based on the popular book with added branching storylines.

The animals at Manor Farm have had enough of their treatment by the cruel farmer Mr Jones, and it’s time for a rebellion! Once the farmer and his wife have fled, it’s up to the animals to work out how they’ll run the farm. They start with the 7 rules of Animalism and are optimistic about their futures.

Gameplay

Orwell’s Animal Farm is a ‘choose your own adventure’ style game with options presented after each scene. Each choice will lead you closer to victory or failure as you try to balance the needs of the animals. The pigs don’t make it easy when they deem themselves superior to everyone else and get milk in their wheat, and apples with their meals. They do the intensive brainwork; they deserve these additions!

The 7 rules of Animalism
The 7 rules of Animalism

The game has multiple endings, so no two playthroughs will be the same unless you make the same choices, of course. This also means that you won’t always follow the storyline in the book. It has been quite a while since I’ve read the book, so I’m not quite sure which the correct ending is. Maybe it’s time to reread it.

The controls for the game are very basic. Animal Farm is essentially a choose your own adventure visual novel. The difficulty is in making the correct decisions to ensure the farm is secure, buildings are in good condition, and the animals have enough food. It’s deceptively difficult, and you’ll probably lose an animal or two due to starvation.

Art style and sound design

The art style comprises of lovely hand-drawn backdrops and animal profile portraits. There are only a handful of scenes, and the game is mostly played with a view of the farm. It makes you feel like you’re looking over the English countryside at a, sometimes, harmonious farm.

Overlooking the farm in year 1
Overlooking the farm in year 1

The soundtrack for Animal Farm does well at setting the tone of the story. Bright and upbeat for the beginning of spring, slow and quiet and subdued for the cold, bitter winters. The real stand out in the game is the narration by Abubakar Salim; He breaks up the dialogue and brings an additional level of emotion to the game. I found myself missing his voice-overs on the lines that had no narration.

Final thoughts

Orwell’s Animal Farm is an excellent homage to the book, which is, sadly, still relevant to this day. People that enjoy visual novels or choices matter games will enjoy trying to get a positive ending – assuming there even is one. With each run lasting around one hour, there is easy replayability with the game, though some of the dialogue can get a bit repetitive. As it is also available on mobile, this would be a great commute game to get you thinking in the morning.

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Platforms: PC (Steam) and mobile
Genre: Simulation, strategy, visual novel, choices matter

** Find The Strawberry received a free key for Orwell’s Animal Farm from Renaissance PR. All opinions are my own **

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