George Orwell’s Animal Farm is one of the world’s most famous literary works, as its clever writing and political themes are so well conveyed that even school kids can understand its implications as Orwell intended. In fact, I had this same book for secondary school, and it made me reflect on the nature of the book so much, I simply had to pick this game up for review.
Animal Farm the book is a novel in where, to put things briefly, the animals in Manor Farm start to get tired of how Mr Jones is running the place, and decide to rid themselves of any human taking care of the farm. This initiates the never-ending question of “Who is in charge now?”, a question which many readers of the book will surely know the answer, but let’s not spoil it for people who have not, shall we?
George Orwell’s Animal Farm, as the game’s proper title, is a word by word depiction of the famous novel, complete with the different animals and humans which characterize the book. It is a very simple game to play as it only requires a mouse, as it is a point-and-click nature game.
You basically go with the narrative and get prompts when you have to make a decision. The game is basically one giant cutscene but you get to decide what is happening or what the outcome of a decision will be, so you have a higher authority in the game. Featuring a number of different endings depending on which decisions you go for, the game has good replayability factor as well.
As mentioned before, George Orwell’s Animal Farm is one giant cutscene. You continue the dialogue by simply clicking anywhere on the screen, but when you have to interact, the cursor becomes a magnifying glass, permitting you to check out the scene before you so that you’ll be able to analyse and make the correct decision.
There are also small indications of the implications of any choices made; animals will have an upward green arrow if that option you go for will benefit them, or a downwards red arrow if the action is to the animal’s detriment. Some choices will necessarily affect some animal or another negatively, as other choices will give you the ability to make animals only benefit. It sort of balances out the further down the story you progress, although some elements are inevitable and will happen no matter your choices.
Progress in the game is mainly checked through a Journal, an item which shows the different endings of the game as well as other tasks which you can achieve during the different years of the game. Each year has a separate page up to three, with the fourth year being “4 Years and Above” showing how long the game is mostly going to span. Choices made by the player will make the difference in which stamps are achieved, and some single decisions can result in multiple stamps being awarded.
I got four stamps off of one single decision in my playthrough and it definitely felt good. Hovering over the blank box underlining a stamp will reveal the criteria needed for you to unlock said stamp, although I would not recommend this on a first playthrough as the hints may spoil the ongoing of the game. As a person who deeply and strongly hates any kind of spoilers, I cannot suggest this enough.
The Journal, accessible from highlighting the barn with the magnifying glass we previously talked about, also has a log of all the characters in the game, with blank portraits for characters you need to yet encounter. It makes for an element of curiosity after multiple playthroughs to determine what one needs to do in order to unlock a said character or maybe a different ending to ones which you may have already got, adding even more to the replayability factor that George Orwell’s Animal Farm possesses.
George Orwell’s Animal Farm overall thoughts
We have talked about the fact that George Orwell’s Animal Farm is basically an interactive cinematic, but it feels like a massive understatement to describe it so. The game is narrated by Abubakar Salim in such an excellent and intriguing way, you’ll be dying to see how the story pans out. Salim is most famously known for his role as the voice of Bayek from Assassin’s Creed: Origins, and elevates the game to great heights thanks to his exceptional work for the game.
There are many reasons as to why one would pick up Orwell’s Animal Farm. First and foremost, whoever read the book like me and know how good the story is will be happy to dive back into Orwell’s masterpiece and try to affect the ending, even a little bit. Newcomers who may not be much into reading but want to experience why the novel is so talked about have the perfect opportunity to check out the book in a more interactive way while retaining the properties which made it so famous in the first place. This is definitely a game worth checking out!