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Orwell’s Animal Farm game review – a clever adaptation, but where’s the spirit of rebellion?

PC, Mac, Android, iPhone; Nerial/The Dairymen
The novella’s dated metaphors are ousted in the best moments of this interactive homage, but its alternative endings pull their punches

In my version of Animal Farm, Boxer the workhorse doesn’t go to the knacker’s yard. He spends his retirement peacefully, following the abandonment of the windmill project. The ogreish boar Napoleon is unable to seize power after his new scoop enforcers run away for lack of food. Both he and his rival Snowball die of old age, leaving the farm in the hands of a relatively benign pig cabal backed up by an avian surveillance network. All the animals learn to read and write – the rats even start a newsletter – and the pigs never get chummy with their human neighbours. Six of seven laws of Animalism are kept unchanged: two legs are definitely not better than four, and no animal is more equal than the others.

This is one of several endings to Orwell’s Animal Farm, an interactive homage to George Orwell’s allegorical tale of an animal uprising corrupted by porky autocrats. Lasting around three hours, it sees you re-enacting and, in some cases, reinventing key scenes from the well-loved book by sliding a magnifying glass over the farm, highlighting animals and putting their thoughts into action.

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