Animal Farm game review from Orwell – a smart adaptation, but where is the spirit of rebellion?


Boxer, the workhorse, is not going to Coverer’s farm in my version of Animal Farm. After the wind-mill project is abandoned, he spends his retirement comfortably. After his canine enforcers run away for want of food, Napoleon, the ogre boar, is unable to take control.

He and his competitor Snowball both died of old age, leaving the farm in the hands of a fairly benevolent pig cabal supported by a network of bird-savvy surveillance.

All the animals learn to read and write and the pigs never make friends with their human neighbors – the rats even launch a newsletter.

Six of the seven animalism rules remain the same: two legs are certainly not better than four, and no animal is more equal than the others…. This is one of the endings to Orwell’s Animal Farm, an immersive tribute to the allegorical tale of an animal rebellion corrupted by Swinese autocrats by George Orwell.

This branching story is at the top of some rudimentary strategic challenges, such as ensuring that everyone has enough food for the winter, constructing defenses against attacking human farmers, and trying not to overwhelm individual characters, as in the previous Tinder-meets-monarchy simulator game Reigns.

All of this is conveyed by clear but lush storybook drawings and a rousing orchestral score for book-phobic children – but also a flawed one – an informative adaptation and a solid introduction to satire. Video games seem to confuse mechanical concern with sophistication, and the leadership elements here seem very aimless – are Orwell’s thoughts about how revolutions can really reverse themselves by trying to count the bales in the hay barn or count the sheep’s morale? Four Good Players! How Animal Farm Became the Year’s Most Unlikely Video GameContinueDespite the alternate endings, the game is also too faithful to Orwell’s story.

It allows you, at its finest, to reconsider and even challenge some of the premises of the novella, including the somewhat dated classicist metaphors. What if the rats were an opposition rather than a nuisance? What if the sheep were more than robots of mindless propaganda? But these deviations are frustratingly constrained by the need to incorporate familiar scenes and conversations from the book.

In the end, Orwell’s Animal Farm can’t figure out whether it’s a retelling or a revolution – but with the nation’s schoolchildren included, it’s still a worthy adaptation.Orwell’s Animal Farm is available now; £7.99


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