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CorpoNation: The Sorting Process Review

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In the famous book “1984” we see the population of the UK working and living in a totalitarian state, while having strict routines of work, play, and exercise. All the time the population was being watched by “Big Brother” and any revolution or disobedience was cruelly punished. It was written in the 1940s, influenced by the regimes of Hitler and Stalin. 

CorpoNation: The Sorting Process is heavily influenced by Orwell’s vision of the future. But it also takes a punt at how we live our lives now, with gaming, chatrooms and fake news at the fore. Let’s get ready to sort it out. 

CorpoNation The Sorting Process review 1
It’s time to get to work in CorpoNation

The setup in CorpoNation is that you are starting work as a lab technician for a corporation called Ringo; with a raccoon mascot as your leader. You turn up for your first day and are told that your job will be to sort different shapes into different tubes. So, for example, a shape with two atomic-looking items might go in the Zeta tube and one with four atomic-looking items might go in the Alpha tube. You do a day of this, get scored on your output and mistakes which in turn gives you credits. 

When you finish your work day you get into a lift and seem to go upstairs to your small living pod. Here you have a bed, a storage unit, and a computer. Each night on the computer you can check out the sponsored news where everything is great, you can pay your bills for food, rent, and maintenance. You also can chat online with other workers, talking over things and taking in surveys for some extra credits as well. Then you have the option to play some state-approved gaming, in the guise of a Street Fighter-styled game and a version of Solitaire. All will ask you to spend more credits to upgrade your experience. 

Working through CorpoNation: The Sorting Process and you’ll find a strong narrative that doesn’t show all its cards from the beginning. It feeds you information about the world and how it works, spread over days and weeks of working from the man. It’s a clever game that had me hooked with its storyline. If it grips you, you’ll no doubt be looking to continue playing just in order to see what happens. But when a secret organisation with an alternative to the mainstream comes recruiting, you won’t know who is telling the truth. 

CorpoNation The Sorting Process review 2
Is there a life outside of work?

Gameplay-wise, things are quite simple, but very addictive in its mundanity. The sorting part of CorpoNation starts off as I described in the beginning but gets more complicated with extra shapes, numbers, and machines that you have to make the most of along the way. I found myself spinning plates by the end, becoming a bit of a boot licker because I wanted to be a good drone and get a promotion. Am I wrong?

The stuff inside the pod mainly plays out through reading and shopping for extra furniture and decor; at least if you have the credits. The fighting and solitaire mini-games are very addictive, especially as you’ll want to spend more credits to level up – something which the game and the evil corp wants you to do. It’s here where CorpoNation: The Sorting Process becomes very meta and very clever. 

Visually this is very much delivered like an early 90’s Mac game. It has that retro feel to it that fits perfectly within the game setup. For me, it looks good, even though it’s very simple and there aren’t many different locations. And the soundtracks are quite minimal as well, but you can buy a radio for your pod and download different tracks for playing out.

CorpoNation The Sorting Process review 3
Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind

CorpoNation: The Sorting Process is a brilliant commentary on capitalism and totalitarian states of being. It’s frightening, truthful and so well observed. A bit like 1984, a bit like Papers, Please, it also provides a chilling verdict on live service gaming. Some may find the actual gameplay to be a bit mundane at times, confused by the overall point of it all, but I have loved the journey told in CorpoNation: The Sorting Process, lured in and surprised.

For some reason, it was hard for me to rebel, but when I did, CorpoNation: The Sorting Process opened my eyes. 

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Engaging narrative
  • Sorting puzzles
  • Pod decoration
Cons:
  • The message might get lost on some
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Playtonic Friends
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 9 May 2024 | £11.99
Gareth Brierley
Gareth Brierleyhttp://www.garethbrierley.co.uk
I am an actor and a writer. I act quite a bit on stage, a little bit on tv and never on tuesdays. I have had some of my writing published and have written for TV and stage. I have been playing games since they begun and don't seem to be getting any better.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Engaging narrative</li> <li>Sorting puzzles</li> <li>Pod decoration</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>The message might get lost on some</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Playtonic Friends</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 9 May 2024 | £11.99</li> </ul>CorpoNation: The Sorting Process Review
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