Have you ever wished to be an evil overlord in control of your own evil mansion where playing out old slasher films rewards you? If so, Wild Factor’s new game, Machiavillain might just be up your street, but first a little bit about the company behind it.
Wild factor might be better known for their last endeavour in the gaming world; Freaking Meatbags, an RTS come shooter released in 2015 which gained some pretty impressive reviews. Machiavillain is the studios second IP and is more of a mixed strategy game based on the concept that you’re the villain! Build your mansion, raise your monsters and slaughter visitors.
Starting out as a mere minion under a, lets be frank, rubbish boss; you take it upon yourself to apply to the League of Machiavillian. The League of Machiavillain are the would-be head honchos of evil evilness.
Your life of servitude is finally over when your first and only letter you have ever received arrives, delivered via an evil owl of course. After killing said owl, purely to prove your evilness, you are accepted into the League of Machiavillain. Dilly, dilly! No more underpaid overtime or scrubbing toilets for you. Your new adventure awaits, but before departing there is one last evil deed for you to complete; stealing the toilet roll from under your old the boss’ nose.
The intro is played out as a narrative with cool animated sketches and is fully voice acted. After leaving your last employer to his messy demise on ‘the throne’ you make you way to Machiavillain HQ which results in a lengthy reception wait. Finally, you’re granted your licence to be evil and given your own bit of land to call home with the choice of 3 minions to help you on your quest to become an evil overlord. Each one has their own positives and negatives for you to choose from and will determine how good they are at certain tasks. I wouldn’t worry what they are just yet though as your employees can be switched out later in the game.
Once you load into the main body of the game, you start to see where the similarities to Freaking Meatbags come into play. If you have ever played or seen Freaking Meatbags you’ll be well at home here. The first port of call is to assign your newly acquired minions with jobs. Simple enough, just open the tab for jobs and tick which roles they should each complete. If you get a little lost there is always the prompts tab top right of the screen to keep you right and even after that a journal to the bottom right as well. The Heads Up Display (HUD) itself is very cluttered and getting used to navigating round all the tabs and the extra drop downs is key, so take your time to learn what everything does. I had a couple of re-starts just so I was familiar with it all.
There is one giant learning curve in Machiavillain; you’ll find yourself getting stuck a lot. This is my first issue with the game as the prompts are sometimes utterly unhelpful and mashing your way around to try and figure stuff out is normally the only way to progress further. Just wait until you have to send your first letter to an unsuspecting guest and you’ll see what I mean. So again learn your way around the HUD as best you can, because it will benefit you later in the game.
Once you get to grips with the HUD, it’s on to starting your evil empire. Using your three minions you choose at the start of the game, and a healthy stash of resources you’re granted, you must build an evil mansion and lure unsuspecting victims to their demise. You can of course use your minions to collect more resources like wood, trees brick and gold. Utilising your minions specialisation comes in handily here, each one will major in a different trait. One might be good at chopping trees, others might be better at working in different rooms. Using these skills will shorten the time it takes to complete a given task. Each minion also has different food types they prefer to eat and of course they need to sleep. So looking after your minions is one of the main micromanagement systems you’ll need to keep an eye on. Think of it like a team of evil Tamigotchi.
After getting your minions under control it’s time to build your mansion. There’s a nice selection of walls, floors and doors to start out with. Each selected item will also turn your built rooms into more specific rooms. Placing a bed in the room for instance will make it a… I have just realised how patronising that is. I don’t need to explain, we know what a room with a bed in it is. Again this took me a couple of re-starts to get the hang of things, I’m not the best interior designer. You can just re-build or delete what you’ve made but I like things to be perfect.
Once you have your mansion it’s time to get down to the good stuff; killing people (in the game!) Once unsuspecting clients come to stay it is your job to spook them and finally kill them. What is different in Machiavillain is the way you kill them. The more you make it play out like a 90’s horror movie, the better the kill will be all the while trying to stay off SWAT’s radar and raise your fear rating. This is a nice mechanic and makes you think about how you’re going to commit each murder. Will it be a pool full of sharks? Or will you use a good old vampire coffin? The usual suspects are here too . The jock, the last girl in the group, you get the jist. Wild Factor have put a lot of work into creating an authentic 90’s horror scene, so relive some of those horrors from your youth.