1979 Revolution: Black Friday review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on June 17th, 2016
Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: NOT QUITE REVOLUTIONARY
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This Telltale-like adventure game gets a lot of props for its ambition, but feels a little too rushed to make a lasting impact.

Developer: Ink Stories

Price: $4.99
Version: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

1979 Revolution: Black Fridayfeels like what would happen if Telltale Games -- creators of adventure games like The Walking Deadand Tales from the Borderlands-- stopped making licensed games and decided to make games based on historical events. In this case, Ink Stories has created a narrative-driven game that tells the story of an aspiring photojournalist during the Iranian Revolution in the late 70s.

While the ambition to tackle such an important and complicated subject is certainly commendable, 1979 Revolutionkind of falls apart due to its breathless pacing.

Revolution 101

1979 Revolution starts with a bang as Reza -- the player-controlled protagonist -- is being arrested for his ties to the uprising. It's during this time and during interrogation sequences that players get some background information on what the revolution is about, and the main players involved, though a lot more detail is discovered through interacting with objects to unlock notes available in the game's 'Extras' menu.

There are also flashback sequences that put you in places important to the revolution, but a lot of context regarding the conflict is relegated to text entries, which is appreciated, though not ideal.

Choose your side

For those familiar with Telltale's style of decision-heavy, lightly interactive adventure games, you'll be right at home in 1979 Revolution. Most of the game is controlled either by making decisions of what to do or say in cutscenes or by wandering around environments and examining objects, talking to people, or taking pictures (you are a photojournalist, after all).

The main focus of these choices seems to center around whether you, as Reza, want to be part of the revolution, and whether you support a more aggressive (and violent) approach to change or a more peaceful one.

Things fall apart

While all of the components to a Telltale-like adventure game are present in 1979 Revolution, the game's breakneck pace and somewhat puzzling dialogue trees prevent it from truly shining.

If the game gave a little more breathing room to develop characters and places instead of racing between plot points, things would likely feel a lot more cogent and meaningful.

The bottom line

1979 Revolutionis certainly commendable for its attempt to tackle some complicated subject material via Telltale-style adventure gaming. Unfortunately, though, it races so quickly and haphazardly to the finish line that it ends up feeling a bit underwhelming and confusing.

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